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'The Song of Kiều' Is the Newest Addition to Penguin Classics Series

Originally written in Nôm script and lục bát (sixth-eighth) verses, Nguyen Du's epic poem Truyện Kiều has always been a quintessential reading for many Vietnamese across generations.

While Nguyen Du's magnum opus has been translated many times into English, Truyện Kiều recently received a new English translation by Timothy Allen, a poet and translator based in the UK. The translation, titled The Song of Kiều: A New Lament is going to be released in April 25 under the Penguin Classics imprint.

Allen, who won The Times Stephen Spender prizes for Poetry Translation in 2008 for his translation of the first sixty lines of the poem, was later awarded a Hawthornden Fellowship that enables him to work on the new translation of the entire work.

"Ever since it exploded into Vietnam's cultural life two centuries ago, The Song of Kieu has been one of that nation's most beloved and defining central myths," reads the introduction of the book on Penguin Random House website.

An official book launch will take place at SOAS University of London, hosted by the university's Centre of South East Asian Studies. The speakers of the launch include the poem's translator Timothy Allen, Penguin's creative director Henry Elliot and Dr. Dana Healy, a senior lecturer and scholar of Vietnamese Studies.

[Photo via Penguin]


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