Câm lặng (silence) in Receptions of Rabindranath Tagore in Colonial Vietnam

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Chi Pham


This article analyses the state of câm lặng (silence) embodied in Vietnamese literary reactions to Rabindranath Tagore and his works during the French colonial period to address the question of why the Vietnamese colonial reception of Tagore was marginalized from the socialist Vietnamese historiography. The article argues that silence – an image of Annamite spirituality promoted by Tagore and his works as well as by Vietnamese intellectuals – conforms to the Orientalist discourse of spiritual East. Such colonial appreciations of Tagore do not meet any Vietnamese national and class struggles, thus they are made invisible in postcolonial Vietnamese historiography.

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