Whom Have You Met? Faces of Literature

What literature endows the workers with is not the awareness of their condition. It is the passion that can make them break their condition, because it is the passion that their condition forbade. ~ Jacques Rancière

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What international authors are introduced in the curriculum of language arts in your state/country? The list might vary across teachers, but I guess it might be possible to recognize something like a canon – a list of international authors that a considerable number of people in your state/country are likely to know as a result of going to school within a particular historical period. What does the selection of these authors demonstrate? How does it affect us?

In this exhibition, I make a modest attempt to offer a list of the international authors and works introduced in the national curriculum of language arts for grades 10-12 in Vietnam. Reforms have been happening, but since 1990s up to now the canon is relatively stable. Apart from the authors featured in the current national mainstream series of language arts textbooks, I also include Sergei Yesenin, Louis Aragon, and Yasunari Kawabata, whom I favor in the textbooks of my time.

Installing the exhibition, I have read some new works, revisited the known ones, and reexamined my cultural background. All of the works have been readily translated in English, and this opens up opportunities. We might discover the points of connection we might have already had and forge new ones. I look forward to conversations with you.  I am interested in seeing how a nation’s identity is constructed through its canon of international authors and what themes of humanity are present/absent.

As I assemble the exhibition, I also think of the highschoolers in Vietnam who might be studying language arts and EFL (English as a foreign language) separately. I think that if I had been exposed to literary works in English earlier, my relationship with English would have been less painful. On the other hand, reading world literatures in Vietnamese brought me experience that I could not have enjoyed if I only read them in English.

Among the works, my favorites are The Moon on the Water by Kawabata, XXVIII (The Gardener) by Tagore, and The Man in a Case by Chekhov. Li Bai, Du Fu, Bashō, and Ramayana also touch me personally.

The national curriculum of language arts in Vietnam consists of three components, văn học (literature), tiếng Việt (Vietnamese), and làm văn (composition). The international authors and works in this exhibition are officially introduced in the literature component. Segments of text written by international authors also appear in the other components.*

Language Arts 10 Vol 1 (Fifth Edition, 2011) – Vietnam Education Publishing House (Weeks 1-18)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Lã Nhâm Thìn (Editer of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Lê Nguyên Cẩn, Đoàn Lê Giang, Nguyễn Thị Bích Hải, Phan Thị Thu Hiền, Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Lạc, Đặng Ngọc Lệ, Trần Đức Ngôn, Lê Trường Phát, Vũ Dương Quỹ, Trần Nho Thìn

10vol1Collage

Week 5: Ulysses’s Return, excerpt from Odyssey – Greek epic (Homer) [pp. 47-52]

Week 6: Rama’s Repudiation, excerpt from Ramayana – Indian epic (Valmiki) [pp. 55-60]

Week 15:  Seeing off Meng Haoran for Guangling at Yellow Crane Tower (Li Bai) [pp. 143-144]

Week 16: Autumn Meditations (Du Fu) [pp. 145-147]

Week 17: Optional readings

* In the Composition component

Week 6: Selection of Events and Details in Narratives

Week 7: Description and Expressivity in Narratives

Language Arts 10 Vol 2 (Fifth Edition, 2011) – Vietnam Education Publishing House  (Weeks 19-35)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Lã Nhâm Thìn (Editer of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Nam, Vũ Dương Quỹ, Đặng Đức Siêu, Trần Nho Thìn, Lương Duy Thứ, Đoàn Thị Thu Vân

Week 26:

Language Arts 11 Vol 1 (Fourth Edition, 2011) – Vietnam Education Publishing House (Weeks 1-18)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Lã Nhâm Thìn & Trần Đăng Suyền (Editers of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Lê Nguyên Cẩn, Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Nam, Đoàn Đức Phương, Vũ Dương Quỹ, Trần Nho Thìn, Trịnh Thị Thu Tiết, Hà Bình Trị, Đoàn Thị Thu Vân

Week 17:  Love and Hatred, excerpt from Romeo and Juliet (William Shakespeare) [pp. 197-201]

Language Arts 11 Vol 2 (Third Edition, 2010) – Vietnam Education Publishing House (Week 19-35)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Trần Đăng Suyền (Editer of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Lê Nguyên Cẩn, Đặng Anh Đào, Nguyễn Văn Đường, Phan Thị Thu  Hiền, Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Nam, Đoàn Đức Phương, Vũ Dương Quỹ, Đặc Đức Siêu, Trịnh Thị Thu Tiết, Hà Bình Trị

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Week 26:

Week 27: The Man in a Case (Anton Chekhov) [pp. 65-70]

Week 28: Authority Reasserts Its Rights, excerpt from The Miserable (Victor Hugo) [pp. 75-80]

Week 30: Marx’s Three Great Contributions (Friederich Engels) [pp. 92-95]

Language Arts 12 Vol 1 (Third Edition, 2011) – Vietnam Education Publishing House (Weeks 1-18)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Trần Đăng Suyền (Editer of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Lê Nguyên Cẩn, Đặng Anh Đào, Nguyễn Thị Ngân Hoa, Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Nam, Đoàn Đức Phương, Nguyễn Phượng, Vũ Dương Quỹ

Week 4: Optional reading: Dostoevsky (Stefan Zweig) [pp. 61-65]

Week 14: Optional reading: Liberty (Paul Éluard) [pp. 170-173]

Language Arts 12 Vol 2 (Third Edition, 2011) – Vietnam Education Publishing House (Weeks 19-35)

Phan Trọng Luận (General Editer), Trần Đăng Suyền (Editer of Literature), Bùi Minh Toán (Editer of Vietnamese), Lê A (Editer of Composition), Đặng Anh Đào, Nguyễn Hải Hà, Nguyễn Thị Ngân Hoa, Nguyễn  Thái Hòa, Đỗ Kim Hồi, Nguyễn Xuân Nam, Đoàn Đức Phương, Nguyễn Phượng, Vũ Dương Quỹ, Đặng Đức Siêu, Lương Duy Thứ

Week 26: Medicine (Luxun) [pp. 101-111]

Week 27: The Fate of a Man (Mikhail Sholokhov) [pp. 118-124]

Week 28: The Old Man and the Sea (Earnest Hemingway) [pp. 126-135]

collage-2015-11-13 books

Click here to see all the entries.

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