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Department of the Languages and Cultures of South East Asia

Modern Vietnamese Poetry

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

At the end of the course students should be able to . . . . 

  • understand the overview of the principle developments in modern Vietnamese poetry from the beginning of the 20th century
  • read, interpret and appreciate Vietnamese poetry
  • develop analytical, organizational and discursive skills in writing
  • lead discussions of literary texts and develop presentation skills
  • discuss poems and their various possible interpretations


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

Scope and syllabus

This courses examines the social, political and cultural context in which modern Vietnamese poetry has evolved.  It pays close attention to the language, forms, poetic techniques and themes of poetry, and discusses Chinese and Western influences on Vietnamese poetry, as well as features derived from folk poetry.  Although the course examines modern Vietnamese poetry, it opens with a brief overview of classical Chinese-inspired poetry of Vietnam, which forms an essential basis for a full understanding of modern Vietnamese poetry.  The course continues with an analysis of the historical, political and cultural contexts at the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century during the intensifying French colonial presence in Vietnam, and examines how the latter influenced literary development in Vietnam.  Finally, the course moves on to look in depth at the works of important Vietnamese poets and literary movements.  The format of the course consists of lectures and seminars, combined with presentations by students, class discussion and essay writing.  Students are required to read literary criticism and historical studies related to the topic.  Students will also gain experience in translating poems and will examine how a different translation can shift the focus of a text.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination 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%).

Suggested reading

A reading list will be provided by the convenor at the beginning of this course.