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Chigas, George V. (2001) "Tum Teav": A study of a Cambodian literary classic. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London.

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One of the cornerstones of the Cambodian literary canon is the verse novel Turn Teav. There are numerous versions of the story that cover all the major modes of creative expression in Cambodian culture. In addition to the literary and theatrical versions, the story also appears in different historical texts, as it is generally believed that the characters described in the story are based on actual people and events in Cambodian history. Despite Turn Teav's tremendous importance and popularity however, there are no studies that examine the extensive literary criticism on the text or the influence of the story in contemporary Cambodian culture and society. This work is an attempt to present an overview of the literary criticism on Turn Teav and provide the reader w ith an insight into the viewpoints of contemporary Cambodian writers and intellectuals on the major themes in the story. Chapter 1 discusses different versions of the story in various genres, including literary, historical, oral, theatrical, and film, in order to demonstrate the story's importance in Cambodian culture and society. Chapter 2 presents my revised translation of Turn Teav by Venerable Botumthera Som that was begun while completing my MA degree at Cornell. Venerable Botumthera Som's manuscript was completed in 1915 and is the best-known version of the story. 3 Chapter 3 examines different texts of literary criticism on Turn Teav, giving special attention to the controversy concerning the original author of the story. This chapter also discusses major themes in the story, namely traditional codes of conduct, abuse of power, and Justice, and uses various examples from Cambodian literature to illustrate them further. Chapter 4 concludes this work with an analysis of several interviews that I conducted with Cambodian writers and scholars concerning the major themes in the story. Particular attention is given to the influence of Turn Teav in Cambodian culture and society, especially the theme of justice in light of the pending trials of the former members of the Khmer Rouge for crimes of genocide.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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