Until Recently, Vietnamese Scholars agreed that the modern Vietnamese novel emerged in the North and that the first instances of the genre were Hoàng Ngọc Phách's Tố Tâm (Pure heart) and Nguyển Trọng Thuật's Qủa dủa đỏ (The red melon), both published in 1925. Now it is becoming generally accepted that the Vietnamese novel developed first in the South—in the French colony of Cochinchina, a region that stretched from the modern towns of Biên Hóa and Phan Thiết to Cà Mau, the southern tip of Vietnam. Trần Chánh Chiếu published Hoàng Tố Anh hàm oan (The unjust suffering of Hoàng Tố Anh) in 1910, the same year that another Southerner, Trủỏng Duy Toản (illustration 1), published Phan Yên ngoại s (An unofficial history of Phan Yên). Hồ Biểu Chánh (illustration 2), who was to become the most prolific southern novelist, published his first novel, Ai làmc (Who can do it?), in 1912.

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