Doan Thi Diem

Doan Thi Diem was born in 1705, nicknamed Hong Ha, the daughter of Doan Doan Nghi, a native of Giai Pham commune, Van Giang district, now in Giai Pham commune, Yen My district, Hung Yen province.

She was Doan Doan Nghi’s daughter and Doan Doan Luan’s sister. Doan Thi Diem was famous for her intelligence, kindness, hardworking and talented literature. At age of 16, Doan Thi Diem was recognized as the daughter of minister Le Anh Tua and she moved to live in Thang Long capital. This was the time when she read a lot of books in the royal library; therefore, her knowledge was expanded. Seeing that his daughter was brilliant, Le Anh Tuan intended to introduce her to Lord Trinh, but Doan thi Diem refused.
In 1724, when she heard that his father was seriously ill, the political situation in Thang Long was confused, Doan Thi Diem asked her adoptive father to return to her hometown to take care of her father. In 1729, her father died. His older brother, Doan Luan sent his family to Vo Ngai village, Duong Hao district (now is My Hao district, Hung Yen province) to open a school. Shortly after that, her brother died, leaving his children for her to take care of. In a funeral oration in Chinese language, she told the heart-rending story of her family. After burying her brother, she was often disturbed by the powerful men who wanted to marry her, so she left for Chuong Duong village (Now belonging to Thuong Tin district of Ha Tay province) and earned the living as a teacher and a physician. She had many disciples and one of them was Dao Duy Doan, who was very talented and won a doctor’s degree.
Doan Thi Diem is not only famous for her beauty, but also famous for her poetry. She is not only a talented girl, but also possesses good qualities of work, content and language. When she was 33 years old, honorary minister Nguyen Kieu, a native of Phu Xa village (Currently belonging to Phu Thuong commune, Tu Liem district, Hanoi) proposed marriage to her and their marriage brought her lots of happiness. This inspired a lot to her writing works, especially her famous translation of Chinh Phu Ngam (The lament of a warrior’s wife).
One month after the marriage, in 1743, her husband went on a diplomatic trip to China and they reunited after three years. During this time, she made the translation of Chinh Phu Ngam (The lament of a warrior’s wife) by Dang Tran Con, which expressed the feeling of a wife whose husband was far away from home.
Doan Thi Diem is a great author of the literature of the Middle Ages. She left many books, signatures, poems, Han scripts and Nom scripts; however, but most prominent are two novels “Truyen ky tan pha” in Chinese characters and the translation “Chinh Phu ngam”, which is considered the most elite work of Vietnamese literature. It is these works which created the name of Doan Thi Diem in the top of the national literature.
Doan Thi Diem is the brightest star in the ranks of female artists in Vietnam. In order to commemorate her dedication to her literary career, some provinces have named her names for schools and streets. In Hung Yen, there is also a school and a street which are named Doan Thi Diem.


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