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Weiße Kugeln© Franca Bartholomaei

Re-reading a literaty masterpiece
The girl Kieu

Truyện Kiều is considered the most important work of Vietnamese literature. The beauty of the language, the spectrum of extreme life situations, the miraculous rescue of Kieu and the restoration of her life in dignity are part of the proud cultural heritage of Vietnam.

In appreciation of various translations and in reverence for the poet Nguyen Du, the Goethe-Institut focuses its attention on this literary work and raises the question of its contemporary interpretation and - closely related to it - the question of today’s role and image of women in Vietnam.
A symposium in July, an exhibition by the German artist Franca Bartholomäi in October and a theater evening, collaborated by four great stage directors, a film program and a call for for drawings and animation will offer new approaches to interpreting this masterpiece of literature and try to give relate it to today’s image and role of women in Vietnam.

Symposium: Re-Reading Truyện Kiều

K © Nguyen The Linh

Re-Reading Truyện Kiều

The Goethe-Institut organized a symposium. It approached the venerable literary heritage from two different angles: firstly, as a philological and historical appreciation of the work based on wide literary knowledge and traditional reading; secondly, as a reflection on women’s roles and situation today and on the contemporariness of the text. 

History of translation in the German-speaking world

Kieu © Nha Xuat Ban The Gioi

How Irene and Franz Faber came to write a German adaptation of "The girl Kiều"

The book Das Mädchen Kiều, the German adaptation of the verse epic “Truyện Kiều” by Nguyễn Du (1765-1820), was first published in 1964 by Berlin-based publisher Rütten & Loening, one year shy of the Vietnamese national poet’s 200th birthday. It was the first translation from classical Vietnamese literature in the former GDR and in the German-speaking world in general.

Commentary on the translation process

Truyện Kiều © Les Éditions VINHBAO - HOANHSON

How Irene and Franz Faber went about translating “A Girl Named Kiều” into a German lyrical adaptation, using the example of the prologue.

We know that the bilingual Vietnamese-French KIÊU edition by Nguyễn Văn Vĩnh (Les Éditions VINHBAO - HOANHSON, 1951), gifted personally to Franz Faber by President Ho Chi Minh during Faber’s first stay in Vietnam from late 1954 to early 1955, was Irene and Franz Faber’s most important source-language text as they wrote their German adaptation “Das Mädchen Kiều.”


Nang K... past_present_future © Nguyen Lien Huong

Drawings for a re-reading of Nguyen Du‘s "Truyen Kieu" today

Congratulations to the 6 selected authors to our CALL FOR PICTURE SHORT STORIES. 6 authors have their own unique answers to questions that we gave: How do we interpret, how do we read KIEU today? What does our KIEU look like today?

Theatre "Nang Kieu"

Video of four plays in the framework of theater project „Nàng Kiều“ performed in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. Four plays of four Vietnamese and German directors with different style already brought to the audience in the north and the south the interesting and remarkable experience. Enjoy the four plays!

Events about the project


The Tale of Kieu is particularly suitable for the stage  © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Amélie Niermeyer

The Tale of Kieu is particularly suitable for the stage.

How shall I bring the Tale of Kiều on stage? © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Bui Nhu Lai

How shall I bring the Tale of Kiều on stage?

The Tale of Kieu and gender bias © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Nguyen Tu An

The Tale of Kieu and gender bias.

The attractivity of Kieu and the tale of kieu © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Nguyen Quyen

The attractivity of Kieu and the tale of kieu.

Die Geschichte von Kieu und die heutige Jugend © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Phan Khac Huy

The Tale of Kieu and today’s youth.

Die Geschichte von Kieu - ein nationales Kulturerbe Vietnams © Goethe-Institut Hanoi

Nguyen Tien Van

The Tale of Kieu – National treasure of Vietnam.

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