Youth and the modern novel - Topics: the genre of the novel; modernity; cultural transformation and literary form; theory of prose; youth as a symbolic form

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Prof. B.V. Tran

(Vanderbilt University, USA)




In the European Bildungsroman, young protagonists come of age, learning the ways of the world psychologically, socially, and morally.  Youth in this genre represents a struggle between self-determination and the processes of socialization.  It symbolizes modern society’s demands and uncertainties, as well as modernity’s potential for mobility and instability.  Critics have exclusively associated the Bildungsroman and the symbolic significance of youth with European modernity.  But given the recent attempts to pluralize the concept of modernity through non-European, alternative sites (“alternative modernities”) or through the framework of colonialism (“colonial modernity”), what is the significance of novelistic youth as a symbolic form for a site of “alternative” or “colonial” modernity such as Vietnam?  Should the modern Vietnamese novel be aligned with the Bildungsroman?  To answer these questions, this paper will contrast Nguyễn Trọng Thuật’s Quả dưa đỏ and Hoàng Ngọc Phách’s Tố Tâm, and examine their relationship to novelistic representations of youth from the 1932-1945 period.


Prof. B.V. Tran

Organisation:   Vanderbilt University                                                            

Address:   VU Station B #351806, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, TN 37235        ‘ U.S.A.                                                                                  

Telephone:    615-343-8540 ;  Fax:  615-322-2305            

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Lần cập nhật cuối ( Thứ sáu, 26 Tháng 3 2010 05:30 )  

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