The Legends “Taking Dark Magic Medicine to Find Agarwood” in Vietnam Postwar

Thi Kim Ngan Nguyen (Hue University of Education, Vietnam)

The war in Vietnam has ended for nearly half a century. However, the traumatic memory and the metaphor of death has become a significant political and cultural discourse in modern life and a prominent component of contemporary legend. This genre becomes the crystallization space of transcendental personal memory and stores the metaphysical blind spots in which the Vietnamese people both accompany and resist orthodox historical documents. The legends "taking dark magic medicine to find agarwood" describes a spiritual world filled with suffering, cynicism and the desire to improve the lives of poor communities after war through thrilling stories about death journey when they hunt for rare products in the deep forest. Through a social-historical approach, this study shows that these contemporary legend that deeply reflects the conflict and reconciliation between traditional indigenous beliefs and modern atheism in a socialist country experiencing rapid development in the context of the postwar market economy.

Part of V5-06 Folklore Work Today, Thursday, October 12, 10:30 am–12:30 pm