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Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

Contemporary Vietnamese Prose Fiction

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2015/2016
Unit value:
Taught in:
Full Year


Advanced knowledge of Vietnamese language

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

The aim of the course is to:

  • familiarise students with post 1975 prose fiction in Vietnam
  • introduce the changes in Vietnamese literature arising as a result of liberalization of literary activities following the renovation programme introduced in 1986
  • apply advanced Vietnamese language skills to the study of modern Vietnamese fiction by reading a selection of short stories and novels as well as existing literary criticism
  • develop presentation skills and open discussion of literary works and their various possible interpretations


This course is taught over 22 weeks with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

In 1986 the Vietnamese government adopted a programme of 'renovation' (doi moi) which heralded an important change in the political situation in Vietnam which, in turn, influenced literary and cultural activities.  This course focuses on the development of post 1975 Vietnamese prose fiction.  It addresses the specific changes in Vietnamese literature which have arisen as a result of the renovation process and which are reflected both in new topics as well as in new approaches to old topics and themes.  Discussion of the issues which the selected texts address and critical evaluation of their content, form and style is undertaken by placing the works in their historical, social, cultural and political contexts.  The course also offers a general overview of official attitudes to literature in the renovation period, by reviewing the key documents which regulate literary activities and identifying the role literature and writers play in present-day Vietnam.  Authors discussed are Nguyen Minh Chau, Duong Thu Huong, Pham Thi Hoai, Le Minh Khue, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Bao Ninh, and Phan Thi Vang Anh.

Method of assessment

A three-hour written examination to be taken in May/June (70%); an essay of 3,500 - 5,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 2 (15%); an essay of 3,500 - 5,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 3 (15%).