Asian Review


Kimloan Vu-Hill

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This article examines some major novels by Khai Hung, a well known writer in Vietnam in the period 1930-1945, to glean social developments in Vietnam during this period. While there was a significant social transformation in the public domain, as shown by scholarly works by David Marr and Nguyen Van Ky, Khai Hung's novels show that in the families of the mandarinate (the Confucian educated literati, or members of the traditional ruling elite and their families), traditional values managed to survive and even to remain dominant in some cases. Also according to Khai Hung, it was probably this resistance to change that eventually led to the social and political revolution in the 1930s and 1940s, when some members of this social class broke away from the constraint of tradition and created for themselves a new world in which they became leaders of a new age.



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