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Genres and Themes

 Religious Literature
• Theravada Buddhist Canonical Texts
• short texts aimed at explaining the practical
advantages of pious deeds
• texts ediying lessons regarding the gods, the
saints, and the sites containing relics of the
 Secular texts - much richer thatn religious
• popular and classical lietrature are well known
at all levels of society although authors names
are unknown and texts are undated and
• 1. Stories, legends and poem of oral tradition are
satirical in tone
• Stories called sysva have strong moral and
education content
• 3. Tales that comment on the naivety of the
peasantry, the greediness of the wealthy and the
demands of the royalty
• 4. Judicial stories which include commentaries on
ancient Lao codes e.g Tales of Nantantai - a lso
version of the Indian Pancatantra
• 5. Historical Legends - e.g. Hostory of Khun Purom
which recount the legendary migration of the Tai
Peoples from Chinca to Luang Prabang
• 6. Poetry that are predominantly Buddhist and
inspired to the licentious
• 7. Classical Lao Literature - written in prose and
verse form, lenghty and not original. Themes
include handsome priest, the heroin is a beautiful
princess and the antagonist a demon. There is also a
Lao version of the Ramayana
• 8. Political Writings - 1960’s as the beginning of
Modern Literature
– Pro-western Regime vs Socialist Regime
– Modern Literature - soap opera novels, humorous stories,
other poorly written works of social criticizm that featured
dishonest officials and scheming politicians
 Since 1975 - the only modern Lao
Literature appears to consists of work
urging the consolidation of socialism and
emphasizing ideology and internationalism.
TAI Minorities
 Tai minorities of Laos has very rich
literature preserved in manuscripts from.
• Magical and astrological texts
• Juridical texts that are divided into small
chapters describing specific cases and
presenting appropriate decision
• Tai Pharmaceutical Texts dealing with
treatment of certain illness by medicianl plants
and other preparations. Additional texts of this
sort list supernatural origins of illnessed and
give remedies.
• Rich Religious Literature include rituals,
prayers, texts written in praise of spirits
• Popular and classical texts include epics,
stories, legends and cosmographical works.
These works present visions of the creation of
the worlds proper to each particual group.