Thu Van Phan (PhD) obtained a PhD from Fudan University (Shanghai, China). She is a researcher and Lecturer of East Asian Literature, adviser for MA students in the Foreign Literature program, Chair of the Division of Foreign Literature and Vice-dean of the Department of Literature and Linguistics, at the Ho Chi Minh University of Education. E-mail: vanpth@hcmue.edu.vn


The World Is Not Only About Humans: Re-reading Vietnamese Poems from Before the 19th Century

Abstract: This paper examines from an ecocritical perspective Vietnamese poetry before the 19th century, that is, before Vietnam’s Nguyen Dynasty. It aims to describe how nature is placed on the same level as humans, and how humans live alongside nature. Vietnamese authors have expressed a balanced view of nature through the comfort of the soul when immersed in natural scenery, the use of natural images to express human moods, as well as a discourse about the harmony between humanity, plants, animals, and insects. Vietnamese poetry also shows that Eastern thought on ecology is different from Western ecological criticism: nature is not an object to be exploited or protected, but a different shell of the inner and spiritual world of man.
Keywords: Vietnamese poems, pre-19th century, ecocriticism, nature, spirituality