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Research Network

Makhali-Phāl Research Network

The following individuals recognize Makhali-Phāl’s literary achievements and are actively working to make her work available to a wider audience in multiple languages worldwide. For information on Makhali-Phāl’s Personal & Professional Network please visit this page.

Kent DAVIS

Editor, Translator, Publisher – DatAsia

Kent Davis of DatAsia Press

Kent Davis of DatAsia Press seen here at the inauguration of Srei Devata Middle School in Kampong Thom district - February 8. 2007.

Kent Davis is a publisher, educator, author and independent researcher. His background is in marketing communications, public relations and curriculum design, development and implementation. He is also a Southeast Asian specialist having worked and traveled in the area since 1990.

In 2008, he read Makhali-Phāl’s book “The Young Concubine” that had been translated into English by Edward Weismiller in 1942. This inspired him to investigate the author’s full body of work and to establish communications with the experts below.

Davis and Ravynn Karet-Coxen have now mounted a project to reintroduce Makhali-Phāl’s works, beginning with the republication of her epic poem, Song of Peace (Chant de Paix) in French, English and Khmer scheduled for release in early 2010.

Ravynn KARET-COXEN

Translator, Cultural Consultant
& Founder of
Nginn-Karet Foundation

Ravynn Karet-Coxen

Ravynn Karet-Coxen

Ravynn Karet-Coxen is energizing the reissue of Makhali-Phāl’s works with her brilliant command of the Cambodian and French languages and her insights into the combination of these divergent cultures. Like Makhali-Phāl, Ravynn shares mixed Cambodian and European ancestry.

Professionally, Ravynn founded the Nginn Karet Foundation for Cambodia in 1994 to help village families in outlying regions of Cambodia, with special attention given to children’s health, education and cultural development. NKFC is a registered non-profit organization in UK, France, Cambodia and the United States.

Sara Elizabeth HARRIS

Professor of French Literature – Newberry College

Professor Sara Elizabeth Harris

Professor Sara Elizabeth Harris

Sara Elizabeth Harris was awarded her Doctor of Philosophy for her thesis, “Makhali-Phāl: The Epic Novel as Poem,” as submitted to the University of Kentucky in 1976. Sara did her primary research in France in the early 1970’s, meeting with and interviewing Makhali-Phāl’s closest friends, associates and family as part of her research.

Drawing from her doctoral research, Professor Harris created an original biography of Makhali-Phāl for the 2010 edition of Song of Peace to be issued by DatAsia in the US, UK and Cambodia. Sara’s thesis and numerous essays interpreting the works of Makhali-Phāl are in preparation for future publication.

Samkhann KHOUEN

Translator & Founding Board Member of Cambodian Living Arts and Angkor Dance Troupe

Samkhann Khouen is a Founding Board Member of Cambodian Living Arts

Samkhann Khouen is a Founding Board Member of Cambodian Living Arts

Samkhann Khouen is an experienced Khmer-English translator now working with Kent Davis and Ravynn Karet-Coxen to prepare the first Khmer language edition of Makhali-Phāl’s Song of Peace (Chant de Paix) for publication in Cambodia by DatAsia in early 2010.

Working with Cambodian Living Arts, Samkhann supports the revival of traditional Cambodian art forms and inspires contemporary artistic expressions. His goal, and the goal of Cambodian Living Arts is to give Khmer people of all ages throughout the world shared ownership and pride in the rich cultural heritage of their country.

Richard SERRANO

Assc. Professor of French – Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences

Against the Postcolonial by Richard Serrano

Against the Postcolonial by Richard Serrano

Professor Richard Serrano has authored numerous publications and teaches both Graduate and Under Graduate courses in literature at Rutgers School of Arts and Sciences.

In Against the Postcolonial: ‘Francophone’ Writers at the Ends of French Empire, Professor Serrano studies five writers from lands formerly or currently ruled by France (Algeria, Cambodia, Guiana, Madagascar, and Mali). Of special interest to visitors to this site is his essay Makhali-Phāl and the Perils of Métissage in which he examines the author’s life and work within the context of her mixed blood heritage (Franco-Cambodian).

He also contributed an article “Makhali-Phal: Cambodian Dancing Girl at the Francophone Epicenter” to a special issue of Literature and Society in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands, (Journal of Commonwealth and Post-colonial Studies 7:2, Fall 2001, pp. 7-32).

Edward WEISMILLER

Professor Emeritus of English – George Washington University

Walking Toward the Sun by Edward Weismiller

Walking Toward the Sun by Edward Weismiller

Edward Weismiller — poet, Rhodes scholar and twice Guggenheim Fellow — translated Makhali-Phāl’s first award-winning novel, La Favorite de Dix Ans, into English for Random House, which released his translation as The Young Concubine in 1942. Prior to the 2011 edition of Song of Peace, this was the only one of Makhali-Phāl’s works to appear in English.

In 1936, at the age of twenty, Weismiller became the youngest writer selected for publication in the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

In WWII, Weismiller served in France and was awarded the “Médaille de la Reconnaissance française,” however he never met Makhali-Phāl.

After the war he released The Serpent Sleeping, a novel based on his wartime experiences. He followed this with a series of poetry books including The Deer Come Down (Yale University Press, 1950), The Faultless Shore (Houghton Mifflin, 1946) and Walking Toward the Sun (Yale University Press, 2002).

Beginning in 2008, Professor Weismiller generously guided and advised publisher Kent Davis in preparing a revised translation of his original work, to be released as The Ten Year Old Favorite.  Davis last spoke with Edward on his 95th birthday, August 3, 2010.  He passed away peacefully on August 25, 2010. His sensitivity, insights, humor and poetry will be sorely missed.

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