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The Heritage of Traditional Malay Literature

A Historical Survey of Genres, Writings and Literary Views


V.I. Braginsky

Traditional literature, or 'the deed of the reed pen' as it was called by its creators, is not only the most valuable part of the cultural heritage of the Malay people, but also a shared legacy of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Malay culture during its heyday saw the entire Universe as a piece of literature written by the Creator with the Sublime Pen on the Guarded Tablet. Literature was not just the creation of a scribe, but a scribe himself, imprinting words on the 'sheet of memory' and thus shaping human personality.
This book, the first comprehensive survey of traditional Malay literature in English since 1939, embraces more than a millennium of Malay letters from the vague data of the seventh century up to the early beginnings of the modern literatures in the late nineteenth century. The long path trodden by traditional Malay literature is viewed in historical and theoretical perspectives as a development of integral system, caused by cultural and religious changes, primarily by gradual Islamization. This changing system considered in the entirety of its genres and works, is seen both externally and internally: from the point of view of modern scholarship and through the examination of indigenous concepts of literary creativity, poetics and aesthetics.
The book not only repesents an original study based on a specific historico-theoretical approach, but it is also a complete reference-work and an indispensable manual for students.

We are Playing Relatives

A Survey of Malay Writing


H.M.J. Maier

We are playing relatives offers a comprehensive survey of literary writing in the Malay language. It starts with the playful evocations of language and reality in the Hikayat Hang Tuah, a work that circulated on the Malay Peninsula in the eighteenth century, and follows the Malay literary impulse up to the beginning of the twenty-first century, a time when the dominant notions of Malay literature seem to fade away in the cyberspace created on the island of Java, and the Hikayat Hang Tuah's play and dance on the sounds of Malay words seem to be infused with a new vitality.
We are playing relatives covers a highly heterogeneous group of texts published over a long period of time in many places in Southeast Asia. The book is organized around a discussion of related texts that are crucial in the rise of the notion of 'Malay literature'.

Clearing a Space

Postcolonial Readings of Modern Indonesian Literature


Edited by T. Day

This collection draws together the work of authors from Indonesia, Australia, North America, and Europe, in the first comprehensive attempt to relate modern Indonesian literature to the insights and approaches of postcolonial theory and literary criticism. The essays in the collection range over the history of modern Indonesian literature from its beginnings in the late nineteenth century to its diversity and growth in the 1990s. Some offer the fresh readings of well-known texts; others draw attention to aspects of the Indonesian literary tradition that have hitherto escaped the notice of scholars and critics. Grounded in detailed analysis of local contexts, yet enlivened by comparative and theoretical perspectives, the collection places Indonesian literature at the heart of contemporary cultural concerns.


Stuart Robson

Critical edition and translation of Wanban Wideya. In the extensive introduction, Robson introduces the term Middle Javanese and the Panji story, discusses this Middle-Javanese romance from a literary viewpoint and provides a summary of the plot. Following the text and translation a commentary, a glossary, and a list of names found in the text are given.