19th century copies of Truyen Kieu on display in southern city

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Rare copies of the most significant work of Vietnamese literature, Truyen Kieu (The Tale of Kieu) are being displayed at Nha Nam book café shop in Ho Chi Minh City until July 22.


The event features the epic poem's 40 original copies dated back to the 19th century. They include the French version and Nom, the ancient writing script of Vietnam, released in France in 1884-1885, and Truong Vinh Ky's one-hundred-year-old copy in the Vietnamese alphabet.


The display also introduces Truyen Kieu's 46 related literature works, including a play script, articles, paintings, commentary and studies, all published in the late 19th and the early 20th centuries.


Written in 6/8 meter in Nom by Nguyen Du (17661820), the 3,254-verse poem recounts the life, trials and tribulations of Thuy Kieu, a beautiful and talented young woman, who had to sacrifice herself to save her family.


To save her father and younger brother from prison, she sold herself into marriage with a middle-aged man, not knowing that he is a pimp, and was forced into prostitution.


According to Duong Thanh Hoai, vice director of Nha Nam Publishing and Communications JSC, the exhibition is aimed to create a temporary playground for Truyen Kieu's fans and collectors, as well as to promote culture reading and the history of publishment in Vietnam.


The exhibition is a contribution of ten book collectors and researchers nationwide. It opens from 7a.m. to 7 p.m. every day at 015, Ho Van Hue 43 condominium, Phu Nhuan Dist.


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