Kidung Pañji Margasmara

A Middle Javanese Romance


Editor / Translator:
Javanese, a major language of Southeast Asia, possesses a little-known literature, occurring in various phases, Old, Middle and Modern. This publication presents a remarkable example, from the poetical literature of Middle Javanese, in an edited text with English translation and an extensive commentary. The aim is to acquaint a wider audience with this literature, in the hope of drawing attention to its fascinating qualities. Set principally in the Singhasari area of East Java, the narrative follows the journey of the lovers, Pañji Margasmara and Ken Candrasari, offering a glimpse of the beauty of the Javanese landscape in the 15th century. The cultural, historical and archaeological details preserved in the text help to shed light on the closing years of Majapahit, a largely unexplored period in Javanese history, before the age of Islam.

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Stuart Robson (1941 - ) has a PhD from Leiden University (1971), and is now an Adjunct Professor in Indonesian Studies at Monash University, Melbourne. He has translated a large number of Javanese texts, including the Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa (2015), which was awarded the A.L. Becker Southeast Asian Literature in Translation Prize in 2019.

Hadi Sidomulyo (1951 - ) has been actively engaged in Indonesian studies for more than half a century, with a special interest in historical topography. He served as a field consultant to the Indonesian Department of Culture and Tourism between 1986 and 1994. Recent publications include Notes on the topography of ancient Java and Threads of the Unfolding Web; the Old Javanese Tantu Panggĕlaran.
“The present publication is a valuable addition to the literature on fifteenth century Java. The authors have given us another important literary work from the pen of a Javanese author, one which provides us with an insight into Java’s literary history in the fifteenth century. They have also given us a publication which tells much about the mores of fifteenth century Javanese courtiers and their households together with a valuable topographical description of significant areas of eastern Java in the fifteenth century.”
- Peter Worsley, University of Sydney, in Wacana, vol. 24, no. 3, 2023, p. 597.

Part 1: Text and Translation By Stuart Robson

 Metre and Music
 The Literary Context
 On Gardens, Parks and Other Architecture
 Language and Translation
 Kidung Pañji Margasmara, Dramatis Personae

Text and Translation

Textual Notes

Variant Readings

Lexicographical List


PART 2: Notes on History and Topography By Hadi Sidomulyo


Topographical Notes

Historical Aspects and General Conclusions

Appendix 1: A Note on the Fifteenth Century Kadipaten of Singhasari

Appendix 2: Kidung Pañji Margasmara – Chronological Table

Appendix 3: List of Toponyms Occurring in the KPM
Students of Southeast Asia, more specifically Indonesia; scholars of Javanese language and literature; scholars of pre-modern Indonesian history; scholars of world literature.
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