Vũ Trọng Phụng
Vũ Trọng Phụng (1912-1939) was a renowned Vietnamese writer and journalist, widely regarded as one of the most influential figures of 20th century Vietnamese literature. Despite his short lifespan of only 27 years, with only around 10 spent writing, Vũ Trọng Phụng left behind an astonishing body of works across genres, many of which are considered to be masterpieces.
Vũ Trọng Phụng’s works are known for their unflinching portrayal of Vietnamese society during the French colonial period. He was not afraid to tackle controversial subjects such as prostitution, poverty, and social injustice. The satirical portrayal of reality in his works, with sexually and politically provocative elements, has made both the author and his writings become the subject of close scrutiny, debate and controversy.
Deemed as “morally degraded” at the time, his writings led to his imprisonment in 1937. He never fully recovered from his time in prison, and he died at the age of 27, two years after being released for poor health.
Vũ Trọng Phụng’s works were censored and banned from publication in North Vietnam from 1954 and in the whole country from April 30, 1975; it was not until the late 1980s that they were finally allowed to be circulated by the Vietnamese government, rehabilitating his status as one of Vietnam’s most brilliant writers.
His first work to be translated into English was Số đỏ, translated by Peter Zinoman as “Dumb Luck”, and was named by the Los Angeles Times as one of the best books of 2003.
Major Books Works: