The death of the eminent Vietnamese translator and poet Dương Tường on February 24, 2023,1 provides an occasion to publish the following previously unreleased interview, carried out at his home on Phan Huy Chú Lane in central Hà Nội during the summer of 1993. The interview was conducted by Trần Hạnh and Peter Zinoman for a documentary film (which was never completed) about the impact of Renovation [Đổi Mới]—the Communist Party’s sweeping liberal reform agenda launched in the late 1980s—on Vietnamese literature. The thematic emphasis of the film explains the interview’s focus on the cultural dynamics and consequences of Renovation rather than on Dương Tường’s remarkable career.

While Dương Tường is best known as a prolific translator, several obstacles impede a complete accounting of his achievements in this field. During the revolutionary 1950s, when he started his career, the translation of foreign literature into Vietnamese was managed by communist...

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