The two-volume book comprises 296 pages of hand-written manuscript with illustrations and 312 pages of annotation (Photo: baotintuc.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnamese epic poem Luc Van Tien (The Story of Luc Van Tien) has been launched for the first time in three languages -- Vietnamese, English and French.

The two-volume book comprises 296 pages of hand-written manuscript with illustrations and 312 pages of annotation.

“The new book Luc Van Tien will allow intellectuals access to Vietnamese literature and provide researchers with a creditable resource for their research on Vietnamese culture in the 19th century,” Michel Zink, permanent secretary of the Academy of Inscriptions and Letters in Paris, said.

Luc Van Tien was penned by the blind poet, Nguyen Dinh Chieu, in the nom script (the Chinese-based Vietnamese characters) in the 19th century.

The multi-language book has been published by the Academy of the Far East in Vietnam based on the original manuscript with coloured illustrations by French author Ugene Gibert.

Gibert was an artillery lieutenant and lived in Vietnam from 1895 to 1897. He learned about the Luc Van Tien through the French translation of Abel des Michels’ Vietnamese version in 1883.

Gibert liked the work and asked someone to copy it by hand. He also came to Huế to ask Vietnamese painter Le Duc Trach to illustrate the poem. Two years later, Gibert went back to France and offered the book to the Academy of Inscriptions and Letters in Paris.

It is the only manuscript of Luc Van Tien. It was in storage for the past 120 years and almost no one paid attention to the book’s existence or its value.

It was in November 2011 that professor Phan Huy Le discovered by chance several precious documents on a visit to the academy and found this manuscript with illustrations.
The coloured illustrated manuscript has been preserved in good condition. The illustrations were on displayed as part of an exhibition in HCM City’s Institute of Cultural Exchange with France in 2013.-VNA