Nguyễn Đổng Chi
Professor Nguyễn Đổng Chi (1915-1984) was a famous folklorist, historian, archaeologist, Sinologist, ethnographer, and writer. With over 50 years of writing, his works are extremely diverse, from literary creations, literature research, historical research, to Sino-Nôm studies.
His most outstanding contributions are in the fields of collecting and researching literature and folk culture. He presented novel insights on the morphology of Vietnamese folktales, and conducted comparative studies of Vietnamese fairy tales and world fairy tales. Nguyễn Đổng Chi collected and rewrote nearly 2,000 fairy tales, from which he composed the collection Kho tàng truyện cổ tích Việt Nam (Treasury of Vietnamese Fairy Tales) consisting of five volumes. This is currently the set of research books that took the longest time to be completely compiled and printed in Vietnam, at 25 years (1957-1982).
As Associate Professor-Dr. Trần Thị An of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences has argued, “The success of his collection of 200 fairy tales is that it is both comprehensive and rich, as well as both selective and representative; it has both the innocence of the oral tradition and also the artistry of a well-crafted narrative. In particular, the narratives in Kho tàng truyện cổ tích Việt Nam manifest national culture and identity, so he completely deserves to be compared with great cultural writers in the world such as Charles Perrault, Jacob Ludwig Karl Grimm, and Wilhelm Karl Grimm.”