During the years 1954––1958, the Vietnamese Workers' Party, in a series of advances and retreats, asserted control over all forms of intellectual and cultural expression in the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. This essay looks at how one of Vietnam's greatest poets, Xuâân Diệu (1916––1985), navigated his way through these turbulent years. When the storm finally abated in the latter half of 1958, some of the regime's most important intellectuals found themselves marooned in far-away labor camps with their reputations in ruins and their careers sunk. Not so with Xuâân Diệu——he had been buffeted about in the rough waters but ultimately was able to sail on with his career intact. He fared well in his personal life, too, since the party leadership allowed him to continue sharing an elegant, state-owned French villa with his sister, Ngôô Xuâân Như, and her husband, Huy Cận——Xuâân Diệu's homosexual partner. How did Xuâân Diệu do it?
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