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Cambodian Literature

The center of Cambodian literature consists of myths and legends passed down orally from generation to generation.  Most of these are based on stories about Buddha's previous lives (Jataka tales), and epics of India (Mahabharata and Ramayana).

Stone slabs that give the genealogy of Khmer kings and their contributions to the temples are the earliest written documents (in Khmer and Sanskrit) in Cambodia.

In 1938, the first novel was published after printing techniques were introduced to Cambodia by the French. The Khmer Rouge's influence on Cambodian literature was to limit it to poems on agriculture, peasants and revolutionary songs.

Cambodian refugees living abroad, particularly those in France and Thailand, published most of the Cambodian literary works during the 20th century.


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