Văn học nước ngoài  English News

Literature must have thought

Thứ Tư, 26/12/2018 10:05


Prof. Dr Le Huy Bac was born in 1968 in Quang Tri In Vietnam, he who is the youngest person in the social science line was granted Doctor degree, Associate Professor academic rank then professor of literature at times awarded. His field of study is quite broad, however, he is referring to a leading expert in foreign literature, especially American literature and Postmodern theories, Symbol. Until now, he has published more than 100 books and textbooks for university training, postgraduate and general education. VNQD had a conversation with him, around some of the current issues of literature, academics and education.
- Congratulate you for your book titled “Franz Kafka - who brainwash humanity” just published by Ho Chi Minh City General Publisher. Can you share something about the book with this provocative title?
+ Actually, there is nothing provocative, such title simply coincides with Kafka. When reading your book, anyone can realize that the world around us, though beautiful, is basically full of oddness. There are many kinds of oddness. The most oddness is that when this individual has odd behavior, thought but doesn’t realize him/his oddness and just automatically take it as a good example for others. Such as an extremely unscrupulous guy teaches morality to many people. A thief, on behalf of his ethics, exhort the robbers, even arrest honest people, if annoy him. Kafka explains it is due to inherent fear tolerating the bad, due to the crime which has reached almost absolute strength in order to crush any humanitarian protest.
Be aware of the abusive values of human values, Kafka implicitly proposes the return of the inner human values and proper behavior. However perhaps that aspiration is almost hopeless. Kafka’s good is a prophecy of hopelessness. Kafka reflects such both joy and despair in his story, by proposing life’s look in the usual way A monkey, for example, reports to the Academy about its evolution, at first read, people think it is progress, worth praising, but it turns out, the full text of that monkey only points to the fact that it was forced to choose either to imitate or die so it must imitate to survive.
Taking the life-death and full-hunger material threatening the life is the way enemies who are hostile to humans are taking advantage. It turns out that Kafka implicitly shows us that our existence does not have any glory, all is farce: farce of the ruled, farce of the governor, farce of the virtue, farce of the robber, farce of the nature... Want to escape such farce, humans need to be aware of their own clowns and bravely renounce it, despite suffering, even death. But the question is how many brave enough? And if there is enough courage, everything must be just like before, replace a sassy monkey with a monkey, It’s just a sassy monkey. That is the source of alienation, slavery and misery. Be deeply aware of the nature of the problem.
Kafka always wants the reader dissatisfied with the satisfaction He wants that people look at things under resentment, resentment to have a better life, satisfaction is just the shortest path leading people into the path of destruction, or if they live, they are just slaves to others, be foolishly profited by others.

- Anyway, can not be negative of the literature talent of Franz Kafka, can not negate the influence of Franz Kafka on world literature for about a century, although this writer was not awarded the Nobel Prize. The value, vitality of a great writer stands out as negative as any award, is not it, Sir?
+ In my opinion, both the twentieth century and the first two decades of the 21st century, no writer can compare with Kafka. He is absolutely unique. The Swedish Academy of Sciences did not award Nobel literature to Kafka that demonstrates the short-sightedness of this academy. The great writer is not only telling an intriguing story, but more importantly, having a great idea. Can not require writers as thinkers but without it, the writer can not grow. At this point, Kafka is a great thinker and writer. He prophesied for all mankind about badness, evil on the throne, the stupidity and foolishness of the crowd, the fake and ignorant of human destiny becomes characteristic character of many varieties. We can easily meet Kafka, though it is the least suspicious place.

- Prior to the event, several Vietnamese writers were awarded foreign awards recently, opinion in the country is divided into two directions that in my opinion are extremist: One side is screaming joy, another is cold irony. According to you, the literature world in particular and the general public should have the right attitude, humane how to receive the message above?
+ The recent foreign awards given to poets Mai Van Phan, Nguyen Quang Thieu and writer Nguyen Ngoc Tu is applauded. Show that these poets and writers are noted and recognized. However, whether their work can live or not is another matter. I welcome and would like everyone to welcome foreign awards, at least it is more objective than some of the prizes awarded to some writers in the country

- Look at the works, articles you published, it is easy to see you on the side ... world literature, which must be the hardest “case”. The difficulty stimulates you to get surgery?
+ The problem is not “hard” or “not difficult” that the writer is big or not, is it worth recommending to readers in the country or not. Any major writer is also difficult for Vietnamese readers. A major literary phenomenon of the world, if introduced into Vietnam, there are few respondents, for simplicity, most people do not understand. This is very alarming, it is necessary to have strategies and investment policies of competent authorities and cultural literary people. The purpose of my world literature introduction comes from the desire to revive the reading culture and the reception of good humanitarian values of foreigners to Vietnamese readers.

- On contemporary Vietnamese literature, you are specifically “biased” some specific works, of Le Dat, Nguyen Minh Chau, Bao Ninh, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Luu Quang Vu, Nguyen Binh Phuong, Nguyen Ngoc Tu, Phan Viet,... thanks to the light of modern literary theories. Criticism, for you, must be theoretically, but not critical ... non theoretically, Sir?
+ I do not follow Vietnamese contemporary writers much, basically, they have nothing to worry about, except for a few, as you say. I am “biased” to some of these authors’ works because those works are worthwhile, such authors are the best authors in the literature of their time. Awards given to them, whether domestic or foreign, nothing worth discussing.
I often do not distinguish between reasoning and criticism, maybe it’s just me that has something weird: Critics must rely on a certain direction of power. That is called reasoning. That’s not true. Whoever studies also follows two theoretical and critical principles. Must be based on one or more theories (that theory originates from thought) to analyse, comment (critique) a phenomenon, a work.


“There should be a Kafka wake in Vietnam. Must read Kafka in a wide range to bring more humanity to life, where materialism has reached the crazy level of humanity. Be brave to give up so many unnecessary things to true life and the human being is truly human. Kafka teaches us that.”
(Le Huy Bac)

- It seems like a peaceful , symbiotic period of literary theories, because hegemonic ambitions, exclusion of any theory soon goes to failure, impossible. Could you point to the double limit of some literary theories?
+ Every literary theory has its limits so that many new theories are born and coexist. That is normal. This is true democracy. At present, literary theory as well as all other existences, there is no unique phenomenon. This is postmodern period, in postmodern period, all existences are equally valid, so there is no such thing that this school “bullies” the other school. Moreover, in postmodern period, people stop extremism, don’t regard them as universe center, as bright peak. They are quite fair with their abilities and limitations, so easy to accept the opposite voice.
You asked about the limitations of the theoretical schools, that’s obvious. For example, semiotics can not touch the problems of psychoanalysis as “unconscious” or “hidden memory” and vice versa. As the same, the narratives can not solve problems like “loneliness”, “alienation”, “irrational” or “tragic” of Existentialism...

- Be a leading expert on postmodern theory, you recently studied semiotics and has launched the Literature semiotics work published first time by Vietnam Education Publisher in 2018, The book is considered to be the study of the first careful semiotics study in Vietnam. Can you tell the reason for the redirection of your research and prospect of semiotics?
+ After about 10 years of research and introduction to postmodern postmodern theory in Vietnam, I trained more than 30 masters and 8 Doctors. Seeing enough people to succeed, I turned to other research. I do not want to study a theory or a writer, a school for a long time. Change is vital in research, even if it costs a fortune.
I know it is hot now but the nature of postmodernism (chaos) will be directed towards modern (orderly) as the inevitable rule, in terms of order, the semiotics is the most stable. So I chose this research direction.
Semiotics is the foundation of all research. In other words, other schools of study use semiotics as a basis for interpreting the theories of their schools. I have been studying semiotics for about 3 years, taught many Master’s degree classes throughout the country and prepared to print more of my research and have a co-worker in the near future.

- As a leading expert in foreign literature, but recently, you were appointed Head of the Department of Vietnamese Studies, Hanoi Pedagogic University. What is your disadvantage and advantage in holding this position?
+ Spending more time for manager position, it is disadvantage, but knowing how to arrange everything is OK, still beneficial. I love translating and researching. That passion has become “karma”. I am always interested in the cultural aspects of literature, moving to Vietnamese Studies will create more favorable conditions for me to study culture, first of all is culture in literature, such as the semiotics of culture, after that, I will choose a certain culture to deepen. In general, it is more profitable.
- Today, culture seems to be the available direction of research, literary critic, Sir?
+ Cultural studies are gaining much attention. In broad terms, the study of culture encompasses a great deal of research, including Semiotics, Psychoanalysis, Postmodernism, Narratives,... This is a research direction that can deepen many of the issues in cognitive and affective applications. In our country, comparative literature and culture should be researched to show where the Vietnamese are, how should efforts be made to catch up with human literature? Never delude the criticism or the argument that promotes writing. If there is a contribution, then only a little suggestion of thought. Writers themselves know what they will do to produce great works.

- Also as a person who has a long history of university and postgraduate education, what do you say about the fraudulent scores on the national high school exams in Ha Giang, Son La ...? According to you, to reduce the negative in the examination, enrollment in the university, the Ministry of Education and Training need to change the examination form in which direction?
+ Examination fraud is unacceptable. Need to clarify and strictly.
By the way, I would like to say a little bit on the sidelines that exam cheating can not put an end to the Ministry of Education and Training. It is a system error, mainly outside of education. Individuals or individuals in the education sector can not do it. In this case, some educators are victims of larger powers like Kafka type. Need to remove the whole system (that line), in particular, it must be traced to the true leader. I see the defense of the Ministry of Education and Training in front of the public is too low. Anyone can criticize but if compared with other ministries, the ministry has never made a bigger mistake than the loss of thousands of billions, to the level of the deputy, the director must be in front of the horseshoe rim... I see more and more serious ministry members, but less denominational. This is unfair to both the Ministry of Education and Training and the head. This error, look closely, is also characterized as Kafka.
The cause of the fraud is that the exam takes the points to consider in college. Just for high school graduation, no one needs to cheat So the graduation exam should be returned to the Department of Education, if it is not necessary, then do not do anything because every year the graduation pass rate is over 98%, exams become humorous and costly. If retained the baccalaureate exam, it is important to make a distinction between the number of students who have the ability to study at university. The rate of passing the baccalaureate will depend on the student’s ability. The state should organize at least two exams each year so that sliders can retake them right away. Or the Ministry of Education and Training holds an exam like the US SAT for those who want to go to college to classify students. In the current chaotic situation of baccalaureate examinations, it is necessary to hold a university entrance exam so that universities can hold examinations, if they do not do well then no one recruits their students when they graduate, their universities will be automatically closed.

- Back to the literary story. There are many people who, apart from literature, do not seem to want to do a job or any other field. You seems very... versatile. So, how your way to come to literature and what is the gravity that holds you together with literature?
+ I have no great literary aspirations other than research to teach. My goal is to impart as much valuable knowledge, humanity as possible to the learner, the reader as possible. But first reading is to satisfy my personal needs. I have always been aware that learning success or not always depends on the nature, passion and will of the learner.
I used to earn a living by teaching English, doing journalism, translating. These professions have many advantages but still does not make me passionate as literature.
Graduated from Hue College of Education in 1991, I wanted to study abroad, but for various reasons like Kafka I could not go, I had to study in the country. I am proud to be the purest product of the education of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and my knowledge is mostly self-taught. I chose to study foreign literature when I was studying masters because I was not good at... this field. But thanks to that grace leading me to my two teachers with my lifelong gratitude is the teacher Dang Anh Dao and teacher Tran Dinh Su. Ms. Deng Anh Dao directly instructed me to do masters and doctorate. Mr. Tran Dinh Su always encouraged me and led me to the theoretical research is applied, practical in Vietnam. I want to say thank you as soon as two teachers are still alive. They are the teachers if without them, the academic literature of Vietnam will lose much noble.
Literature must have thought, both in creation and reception. If you do not understand philosophy, you can not study literature and culture. Thanks to foreign literature I have access to many ideologies, many theories of literature - useful culture. By applying these theories in my research I have contributed to postmodern theory and typology in the Vietnamese research environment.
In addition, I was attracted literature with students and books. Books as I often say, as Kafka, Hemingway, Faulkner, Marquez, Do Phu, Kawabata, Bao Ninh, Nguyen Huy Thiep, Le Dat,... are Heidegger, Freud, Wittgenstein, Derrida,… As a student I am indebted to the people I lead the thesis, dissertation (about 100 bachelor thesis, 80 master thesis and 20 doctoral thesis) and the ones I personally teach. If there were no student, I would not be today, They are the people I love, even though many of them may not remember or forget me.

Translated by NGOC HIEN


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