The Song of Kieu: A New Lament (Paperback)

The Song of Kieu: A New Lament By Du Nguyen, Timothy Allen (Translated by), Timothy Allen (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Du Nguyen, Timothy Allen (Translated by), Timothy Allen (Introduction by)
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"An essential book for anyone invested, not only in Vietnamese literature, but the historic power of the national epic...and its perennial place in our species' efforts toward self-knowledge. Tim Allen's new translation offers clean fluidity while honouring the original's varied rhythms and jagged lyricism. A luminous feat." --Ocean Vuong

A stunning new translation of the legendary Vietnamese epic poem, now for the first time in Penguin Classics


Considered the greatest literary achievement in Vietnamese, The Song of Kieu tells the story of the beautiful Vuong Thuy Kieu, who agrees to a financially profitable marriage in order to save her family from ruinous debts, but is tricked into working in a brothel. Her tragic life involves jealous wives, slavery, war, poverty, and time as a nun. Adapted from a seventeenth-century Chinese novel, Jin Yun Qiao, written by an unknown writer under the pseudonym Qingxin Cairen, author Nguyen Du upended the plot's traditional love story by conveying the social and political upheavals at the end of the 18th century in Vietnam.

About the Author


Nguyen Du (January 3, 1765-September 16, 1820) is a celebrated Vietnamese poet who wrote in chu nom, the ancient writing script of Vietnam. He is most known for writing the epic poem The Song of Kieu.

Timothy Allen currently teaches English at the University of Liverpool. He has published translations from several languages, including Spanish and Vietnamese. In 2008, he won a Stephen Spender prize for his translation of the opening lines of the great Vietnamese verse-novel, Kieu: A New Lament for a Broken Heart by Nguyen Du, and was later awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship which enabled him to complete his reworking of the whole poem.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780241360668
ISBN-10: 0241360668
Publisher: Penguin Classics
Publication Date: July 9th, 2019
Pages: 240
Language: English