Prof. Phuong Luu, whose real name was Bui Van Ba, was born in 1936 in Van An Village, Nghia Thuong Commune, Tu Nghia District, Quang Ngai Province.
In 1954, on the Inter-region V Party Committee’s assignment he and other southern students crossed the Truong Son Mountain Range to the North and then went abroad to study. In 1960, after graduating from the Beijing Normal University he returned home and taught Chinese literature in Hanoi Teachers’ Training College. From 1964 he did research and lectured on literary theory until he retired in 2006.
In the literary circle in Vietnam, Phuong Luu is a very popular penname. However, not everyone knows about the interesting origin of his penname. Prof. Phuong Luu has said that he has two mothers, his mother and mother in law. To express his deep gratitude to these two mothers, he selected his penname as “Phuong Luu”, combing “Luu”- his mother’s name and “Phuong” – his mother-in-law’s.
The penname means red and fragrant pomegranate flower. Another interesting fact is that his penname is seen in the “Great Dictionary on Foreign Literature in the 20th Century” published by Yi Lin Publishing House, China in 1999.
Over 50 years of doing research and lecturing, Prof. Luu has trained thousands of graduates and a number of masters and doctors. Many of them obtained great success, namely writers Ma Van Khang, Nguyen Khoa Diem, Pham Tien Duat and To Nhuan Vi.
His friends say that he is a writer who is able to write extensively and does so very well. So far, he has written 22 private research monographs, compiled and done research on 40 works with his colleagues, with thousands of articles published in scientific magazines and newspapers. Among them, “The Collection of Phuong Luu”, a huge book consisting of three volumes with 1,747 pages, shows most of his favourite works in his career.
In 2010, he was given the Ho Chi Minh Award for Science and Technology for his five excellent scientific research projects including “Western Literary Theory and Criticism in the 20th Century” (2001), “From Compared Literary to Compared Poetry” (2002), “Literary Theory and Criticism” (2004), “Discourse on the Method of Science Research” (2005) and “Cultural and Arts Thoughts of the Western Marxism” (2007).
With these scientific works, Prof. Phuong Luu has contributed to defining an instrumental system for literary research and presenting the quintessential theories on oriental traditional literature as well as outstanding achievements of modern and contemporary western literary theories.
Thanks to these works, he is considered the first person who researched systemically 22 schools of modern and post-modern western literary theories, thoroughly analyzing the literary thoughts of western Marxism and many other basic issues which are useful for the development of other majors, such as literary theory, literary criticism and literary history.
Although he is retired, he continues instructing students on doing research and works as Chairman of the Thesis Defence Committee of Hanoi Teachers’ Training College. He is also head of some of state-level scientific thesises and a permanent member of the World’s Confucianism Union.
He is not only known as a devoted scientist and respectful teacher, but also a kind-hearted person. He spent most of his savings gained from scientific awards to help promote the study and cultural movement in the country. Recently, he presented all of the award of 200 million VND from the Ho Chi Minh Award to the Vietnam Red Cross Agent Orange Victims Fund.
Achievements obtained by Prof. Phuong Luu:
– He is the only person to successfully defend a PhD thesis in social sciences in the country in 1990.
– The Prize of the Writers’ Association in 1995.
– The State Prize for Science and Technology in 2000.
– The Prize of Vietnam Union of Literature and Arts Associations in 2009.
– The Ho Chi Minh Award for Science and Technology in 2010
– He founded the Centre for Chinese Studies in 1992 and created the Prize for Science and Technology in 2007 at Hanoi Teachers’ Training College.