"Paul Mus, (born 1902, Bourges, Fr.died Aug. 9, 1969,
Avignon), French scholar of Southeast Asian civilizations, especially
Vietnamese society and culture.
Taken to Vietnam as a small child, Mus grew up in Hanoi, where
he attended high school with upper-class Vietnamese students,
forming a keen perception of Vietnamese life that is reflected
in his writings. At the University of Paris he became an accomplished
Southeast Asian scholar, then returned to Hanoi in 1927 as a secretary
and librarian with the Research Institute of the French School
of the Far East until 1940. He participated in archaeological
expeditions and explored the ruins of the ancient kingdom of Champa,
in southernmost Vietnam; his book Barabudur (1935), a treatise
on the origins of Buddhism and the Hindu-based cultures of Southeast
Asia, resulted from those investigations, as did India Seen
from the East: Indian and Indigenous Cults in Champ (1975).
Late in World War II, Mus joined a British intelligence unit
in India. His mission was to return to Vietnam and develop resistance
there against the Japanese; he landed by parachute in the Hanoi
area in 1945, shortly before the Japanese completely routed the
last remnants of the French administration. He fled to Dien Bien
Phu, whence he escaped to China.
Upon his return to Vietnam in September, after the war, as political
adviser to General Philippe Leclerc, he was sent to negotiate
with Ho Chi Minh, who had proclaimed an independent Vietnam in
the north. The inflexible terms Mus offered Ho proved unacceptable,
and the guerrilla war continued (as recorded in his Ho Chi
Minh, le Vietnam, lAsie ). Mus returned to Paris,
where he was appointed director of the French School for Overseas
Administration and also professor at the Collège de France.
Mus became a visiting lecturer at Yale University in 1950 and
two years later a full professor of Southeast Asian civilizations.
In his Viet-Nam: sociologie dune guerre (1952; Vietnam:
Sociology of a War), he tried to communicate his understanding
of the Vietnamese to the French, who were still engaged in the
French Indochina War. He strongly influenced the large group of
young Southeast Asian scholars that emerged in the United States.
With John McAlister he wrote The Vietnamese and Their Revolution
-"Paul Mus." Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia
Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica
Inc., 2012. Web. 24 Oct. 2012.
David Chandler, (2009) "Paul Mus
(1902-1969): A Biographical Sketch," Journal of Vietnamese
Studies, Vol. 4, No. 1 (Winter 2009), pp.