Recluse of White Cloud Hermitage: Nguyen Binh Khiem (1491-1585) in Vietnamese Literature and Cultural Memory


Henry Luce Foundation/ACLS Grants to Individuals in East and Southeast Asian Archaeology and Early History Dissertation Fellowships (North America)


Asian Studies


This study explores the relationship between material culture and human society by examining how society superimposed written and oral literature about Nguyen Binh Khiem, a sixteenth-century Vietnamese poet, onto the geographic space of Khiem’s home village to create a collective remembrance of Khiem and physical sites associated with him, such as Khiem's memorial shrine. The project examines the popular remembrance of Khiem during three periods in history: his lifetime in the sixteenth century, the eighteenth century when his memorial shrine was rebuilt, and the early nineteenth century when an epic vernacular poem was published about Khiem. This research demonstrates that the popular remembrance of Khiem in his home village propagated through a process in which restoration of physical sites (like Khiem's shrine) and the transmission of literature (such as the nineteenth century poem) were intrinsically intertwined.