Isan Writers, Thai Literature: Writing and Regionalism in Modern Thailand

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By Martin B. Platt

Regional characteristics and regional language feature prominently in discussions of Thai identity, but there is little mention of regional literatures. In northeastern Thailand's Isan region, authors write primarily in Thai, but it is possible nonetheless to identify an Isan literature, which played a significant and at times pivotal role in the development of Thai literature in the second half of the 20th century, as authors grappled with how their origins and experiences related to the Thai centre. Martin Platt's account of Isan literature is an important first step toward a broader study of regional literatures in Thailand, and shapes a model that has relevance for examining literary works in other Asian countries.

"Platt's considerable attention to the lives and struggles of writers offers a sense of what it was both to write from a regional perspective and to be an Isan writer during the twentieth century. Because of these strengths, the book is an important starting point into studies of Thai literature and a necessary contribution to the ongoing conversations about what it means to be Isan." - Eli Elinoff

" exceptional combination of critical readings of a large body of Thai literature by Isan writers, interviews with many writers, and insightful reflections on how these writers have developed in the turbulent decades of late 20th century Thailand…a unique contribution…" - Charles Keyes

Martin B. PLATT is an associate professor in Thai/Southeast Asian Studies at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies, University of Copenhagen.

Publication Year: 2013
270 pages, 229mm x 152mm
ISBN: 978-9971-69-697-9

NUS Press and NIAS