When we were writing Sinxay we were extremely fortunate to have the occasional assistance of Chris Baker, author of Khun Chang Khun Phaen, who shared information that illuminated the oral storytelling and magical aspects of Sinxay we normally wouldn’t have been able to access. Khun Chang Khun Phaen, was an amazing read and helped us see Sinxay within a historical context, which otherwise would have been very difficult considering the limited Lao resources available.
We were excited to see that recently Chris and his wife and co-author, Pasuk Phongpaichit, have compiled a book of essays that examine Khun Chang Khun Phaen. The new book published by Silkworm Books is Five Studies on Khun Chang Khun Phaen,: The Many Faces of a Thai Literary Classic. This kind of analysis is almost unheard of in Laos. One bright exception was a book published byThongkham Onmanisone, The Wisdom of Sinxay and the Role of Soumountha, Lao State Press, 2012.
The five studies are:
- A Society Which Lacks Principle by M.L. Boonlua Debyasuvarn
- The Aggression of Characters in Khun Chang Khun Phaen by Cholthira Satyawadhna
- Khun Chang Khun Phaen and the Moral Landscape of the Three Worlds Cosmology by Warunee Osatharom
- Space, Identity, and Self-Definition: The Forest in Khun Chang Khun Phaen by David C. Atherton
- The Revolt of Khun Phaen: Contesting Power in Early Modern Siam by Chris Baker and Pamuk Phongpaichit
To read more about the background of the essays and authors read a recent post on the Khun Chang Khun Phaen blog.
The Five Studies of Khun Chang Khun Phaen was published by Silkworm Books in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and we were impressed at how easy it was to order a copy and how relatively cheap they charged to mail the book internationally which arrived in approximately one week. Although we haven’t yet read the book, it’s on top of the other books on our nightstand, and we will provide our own review once we finish the book.