Exploring the representation of space and belonging in Javanese literature, I will use Suparto Brata’s novel Donyane wong culika (The World of the Untrustworthy, 2004) as a case study. Firstly, I will focus on how literary, linguistic and epistemological features shape and give meaning to Javanese spatiality and on how the references to Javanese customs, literary and cultural traditions, and the Javanese mind in the twentieth century may address and evoke feelings of belonging. Secondly, as the novel features historical events as a kind of backdrop, I will pay attention to what Le Juez and Richardson (2019) call the perceptions of associated loci and on how these loci articulate individual and collective memories of the 1965–66 events, a traumatic period in postcolonial Indonesian history.
Boasting of one’s poetic talents was hardly an uncommon feature in Arabic poetry. Poets sang praises for their craft and exalted themselves over their rivals. They sometimes moved beyond braggadocio, however, explaining the particular attributes that made their poetry of unmatched quality. Al-Nāshiʾ al-Akbar (d. 293/906) was one such poet who declared his poetry to be an inimitable product defined by standards that he outlined in his didactic poems. He also penned at least one book on the criticism of poetry which only survives now as excerpts in a number of fourth/eleventh century works of adab. Fine poetry, according to al-Nāshiʾ, is the harmonious articulation of sounds and meanings presented in an accessible way to its audience but is impossible to reproduce. In this respect, I propose that, in expounding the standards of excellent poetry, al-Nāshiʾ alluded to theories of inimitability (iʿjāz) based on composition (naẓm) and divine prevention (ṣarfah). He was a Muʿtazilite theologian who was both celebrated and vilified by his contemporaries, and later scholars. His theological writings have been examined; however, his literary persona is still little-known. In contrast to most considerations of him, this study examines al-Nāshiʾ as a poet and critic foremost.