Literary Traditions in Transition

Full panel title

Literary Traditions in Transition in South East Asia


Emilie Testard (INALCO, Paris)
Pram Sounsamut (Chulalongkorn University)

Date and time

13 August, 11:00 – 12:30


Room 46


  • An Eleven Faces of Todsakan: An Image of Ravana in Contemporary Thai Tradition
    Pram Sounsamut (Chulalongkorn University)
  • Intertexuality in Khun Suwan’s Poetry
    Emilie Testard (INALCO)
  • Beyond the Empires: Bureaucratic Manuscripts and the Political Culture in Early Nineteenth-Century Vietnam and China
    Liem Vu Duc (Hamburg University)

Panel abstract

In South East Asian classic literature, heroes, stories, forms and canons have little evolved in time till the introduction of western influence. Esthetics is very much influenced by Indian literary traditions. Stories are retold, forms re-used and re-interpreted but the aim is to achieve ancient perfection. But even in this restrictive frame, poets have been able to make their art evolved and undeniable variations can be seen in the repeated epics that are told again and again from court to court : each version enhancing qualities, edifying or symbolic episodes or adapting the epics to a different drama or poetic genre. Subtle changes in the intrigues and formal virtuosity have conditioned sensibilities and it would be interesting to see what are the characteristics of national adaptation of regional epics such as Ramayana, hindu epics or Inao- Panji cycle or to compare different versions or adaptations in a inter-textuality optic. As if the very nature resided in constant adaptation, traditions have assimilated new literary themes as countries were in contact with foreign influences we shall examin how literature has evolved and how exotism is somewhat at the very heart of tradition.