How did the vietnam war affect literature

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how did the vietnam war affect literature

Best Literature About the Vietnam War (280 books)

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Published 16.04.2019

Vietnam War in 13 Minutes

Summer 2019

Vietnam War literature is a prolific canon of literature that consists primarily of works by American authors, but it is global in scope in its inclusion of texts from writers of other nationalities like Australia, France, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. In the mids, Bernard B. Thousands of literary works touch on the Vietnam conflict in some way, whether in the form of combat novels, personal narratives and eyewitness accounts, plays, poems, and letters, and by both male and female writers and authors of different ethnicities. These numerous literary works reflect the traits unique to this war as well as conditions endemic to all wars. Important, too, are the stories of those who were affected by the war on the home front and those of the Vietnamese people, many of whom were forced to leave their homeland and resettle elsewhere after the war during the Vietnamese diaspora.

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Since literally thousands of works of literature have been written about the involvement of America and other countries in Vietnam. In turn, these works have generated over a thousand books and articles of literary criticism—far too many to enumerate in this selective bibliography—as well as special collections at Colorado State University and La Salle University, special journals and journal issues, and numerous conference sessions. In the s and s especially, a growing number of scholars began documenting the war and its prolific literary endeavors. They quickly realized that the Vietnam War reflected in this literature was a diverse war. The brutal experiences of the soldier on the front lines differed considerably from the boredom of the soldier who shuffled papers in the rear, and the soldier who served in the early years fought a different war from that of the soldier who fought after the TET offensive in These traits are clearly reflected in the literature of the war, which takes a wide variety of approaches in its efforts toward sense making and encompasses a number of genres—novels, short stories, poetry, drama, memoirs, oral histories, scrapbooks, letters, detective fiction, science fiction, and travel literature, for instance. Literary connections are also quickly being made between the Vietnam War and the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the early 21st century.

A peasant girl who had survived war and rape in her rural village, she had migrated to Da Nang to escape persecution from both Vietnamese Communists and anti-Communists. In her life and work, Ms. Hayslip embodies my broad definition of what it means to be Vietnamese, an identity that includes those in Vietnam or in the diaspora, as well as those who write in Vietnamese or in other languages, in this case English. I came across her book as a college student at Berkeley in the early s. It moved me deeply, not only because it was a compelling memoir, but also because it was one of the few books in English by a Vietnamese writer. Co-written, in her case, with Jay Wurts.

More books have been written about the Vietnam war than about any other American war. The "official" version of the war lost credibility early and individuals had to make sense of it for themselves. A large number wrote books based on their experiences, many of which were published by small presses or by the authors themselves and received no distribution to speak of. Even books from large publishers came and went as if they were written on air. And tracking down the literature of Vietnam is doubly difficult because, in an era which declared the "novel" dead and saw the birth of the "new journalism," it is not easy to decide just what constitutes "literature" and what is simple history or mere reporting.


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