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Reading Javanese Literature with Questions of Theory in Mind

In: Philological Encounters
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Tony Day Independent Researcher Graz Austria

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Edwin P. Wieringa Institute of Languages and Cultures of the Islamicate World, University of Cologne Cologne Germany

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Literature in Javanese, the largest of the Austronesian languages and the world’s tenth largest language by native speakers, spoken by more than 100 million people, is still being written after more than a millennium of recorded history. For centuries it has interacted with literatures written in Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Malay, Dutch, English and other languages, which were often translated into one another before reaching Java. And yet, as Ronit Ricci writes, although Javanese literature has “one of the world’s richest and most unusual literary traditions … it is little known today outside of Java, Indonesia, and a handful of western universities.”1

Criticized by those who find the humanities useless to begin with, the field of Javanese literature can quickly be dismissed as a small, luxury discipline—what the Germans call an Orchideenfach or “orchid subject,” being both exotic and expensive, with limited value on the labor market. However, the rather isolationist tendency of Javanese philology itself, marked by a certain “island mentality,” may also have contributed to its own marginalization and subsequent demise in the institutions where literary and philological learning take place: It has consistently denied itself access to participation in a wider, comparative conversation about the literatures of the world because of an indifference to theory, to “methods of making sense,” an indifference that is seemingly found within, and hence possibly legitimized by, Javanese literary tradition itself.2 The absence of an understanding, or even a consciousness, of how Javanese literary texts and their audiences have been created, makes it impossible to establish grounds of comparison with other literatures, except in superficial terms of theme or genre. Such almost sub-theoretical criteria fail to make Javanese texts the compelling object of “transregional and transhistorical” comparative philological study envisioned by Sheldon Pollock. Why bother to read a Javanese epic poem or novel or delve into Javanese plot construction or characterization when there are so very many other examples of these genres and literary devices to choose from in other literatures around the world? Why take the trouble to interpret Javanese “translations” or “adaptations” rather than immediately turn to the non-Javanese “originals”?

How do we read Javanese literature with questions of theory in mind? This is a crucial question to address if reading Javanese literature is going to make a contribution to helping the discipline of philology “reach its full potential as a unified transregional and transhistorical academic discipline,” as Sheldon Pollock has, in plain yet eloquent words, expressed it.3 “Making sense” of Javanese texts needs to be recognized as being as fundamental as any other philological enquiry to the kind of philological practice that takes “everything made of language” as its primary, its central object of study.4

The essays in this special issue are the scholarly spin-off of an international research project, “New Directions in the Study of Javanese Literature,” originally convened and led by Ronit Ricci over ten months at the Israel Institute for Advanced Studies in 2018–19.5 Enjoying the group dynamic of the “Java in Jerusalem” team, a number of its members enthusiastically and immediately acted on Tony Day’s follow-up initiative to further explore the issue of “Reading Javanese Literature and Questions of Theory,” which was accepted as two panels to the 2020 Annual Conference of the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) held both virtually and in person in Honolulu, Hawai’i from March 24–27, 2020. Although the writers of this introduction acted as editors, the present collection is very much the outcome of the fruitful exchange of ideas among the contributors themselves.

We first encounter the question of theory, and its incisively argued solution, in the essay by Naresh Keerthi and Danielle Chen Kleinman. For the literature in Old Javanese written on the island of Java between the eighth and the end of the fifteenth century, and then continuously in Bali until late in the twentieth,6 “there was a cultural preference for inscribing the theoretical models [from India] in the literary practice itself.”7 Keerthi and Kleinman’s solution to this problem is to develop a theory for reading Old Javanese poetry based on the “ecoliterary” style of a thirteenth-century poem (Monaguṇa’s kakawin Sumanasāntaka), in which the phenomena associated with climactic conditions, including the flora and fauna most characteristic of the fourth month of the Javanese year or Kapat, become “thematized” as key, indeed central, tropes by which the Old Javanese poet communicated his central theme: a meditation on the key word of all kakawin poetry, langö (Beauty). Keerthi and Kleinman call these tropes kawi-samaya, a “dialogic” term, the first part Javanese, the second part Sanskrit, based on one that was invented by Yāyāvarīya Rājaśekhara, a ninth-century Indian poet, playwright and theorist, whose ideas about topoi and the process of transforming implicit ways of “making sense” into theory informs their own approach as they explain how Old Javanese poetry was framed by the “Sanskrit cosmopolis” and was yet thoroughly “hyperlocal … saturated with Javanese preoccupations, reflecting the archipelago’s tastes, cultural traditions, and natural surroundings. …” Their analysis leads, in the end, to a reception theory of Old Javanese poetry. Over centuries, Kapat topoi, the key “commonplaces” of Old Javanese poetry, were absorbed into a collective poetic memory that enabled a Javanese audience to recognize the “phenomenology of Kapat” and its central theme of “hopeful love and agonizing longing.”

Keerthi and Kleinman carefully explicate the creative fastidiousness with which the poet Monaguṇa crafted his “hyperlocal” kakawin Sumanasāntaka. Ronit Ricci takes the same kind of care in her examination of the 1864 interlinear Babad Maulud (a Javanese translation of the Arabic Maulid Syaraf al-Anām, recited on the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday). Ricci deploys Raymond Williams’s famous and widely used “keywords” idea. In a text that is a transparent exercise of translation from Arabic into Javanese, with the help of Williams, Ricci pinpoints moments when, in a reversal of the process identified by the Indian poet and theorist Rājaśekhara as explained by Keerthi and Kleinman, rather than “awakening” the Javanese reader to words found in the Arabic text and making their meanings explicit, the Javanese writer has added new, Javanese words to it. Ricci shows that the Javanese titles marking social status, which are added to the translation of the Arabic text, awaken the cultural “unconscious” of the Javanese reader, re-locating the entire Maulid Syaraf al-Anām (and indeed all of Islamic faith and practice) to Java.

A bicultural cultural memory is awakened in the long narrative poem Tony Day and Nancy Florida translate and discuss in their essay, the 1815 Surakarta recension of the Sĕrat Cĕnthini from Central Java. Day and Florida position themselves as listeners to a “conversation” occurring between pre-Islamic ideas and literary conventions found in poetry about wandering, Old Javanese poets in search of langö (Beauty) and Sufi ideas about journeying for the purpose of acquiring knowledge and spiritual enlightenment derived from the twelfth-century Sufi scholar Abū Ḥāmid al-Ghazālī’s Kitāb ādāb al-safar (“Book of conduct in travel”), Book XVII of his Iḥyāʾ ʿulūm al-dīn (“The revival of the religious sciences”).8 The “phenomenology of Kapat,” so to say, has been Islamicized in the Sĕrat Cĕnthini, but the range of that work’s associations with Old Javanese poetry has also been extended beyond seasonal metaphoricity. In canto 386, verses 17–23, explicit reference and allusion are made to Old Javanese poetic topoi associated with what Jiří Jákl calls the “landscape of warfare: the mytho-poetical zone of war.”9 Jákl shows how Kapat topoi and the theme of longing-in-separation at the heart of the langö aesthetic were also used to represent gruesome scenes of battle and bloodshed. The historical setting of the 1815 Sĕrat Cĕnthini, which was composed during the British occupation of Java (1811–16), is the even more violent reign of the Central Javanese king, Sultan Agung (r. 1613–46), at the dawn of the colonial era in Indonesia. The inclusion of references to warfare in the description of the narrative protagonist’s journey through a “Kapat landscape” is telling, both because of the historical framing of the story itself and the tumultuous times of its reception.10

The violence of Java’s seventeenth-century past, which continued unabated into the twentieth century, is pushed to the wings in the 1815 Sĕrat Cĕnthini, as its poetic dialogue between kakawin topoi and Sufi taṣawwuf, Javanese lĕlana and Arabic safar holds center stage over 247,766 lines of gorgeous verse. But it erupts into full view again in the twentieth-century Javanese prose texts examined by Verena Meyer, Els Bogaerts, and Edwin Wieringa, on rebellion, mass killings, and murder respectively.

Meyer’s subject is the question of “how violence is conceptualized and aestheticized” in two renditions of a famous story from the reign of Sultan Agung’s grandfather, Panĕmbahan Senapati Ingalaga (r. 1584–1601), the founder of the Mataram dynasty of Central Java, who used extreme violence to convert his new subjects to Islam.11 The first rendition of the so-called Mangir story examined by Meyer was written by Raden Ngabehi Suradipura, secretary to a colonial official and scholar, and published in 1913 by the colonial Bureau of Literature (Balai Pustaka). In his version of the murder of Kyai Agĕng Mangir, a rebellious regional ruler, by Senapati, Suradipura endorses the king’s legitimate right to eliminate challenges to his rule, using keywords drawn from Javanese shadow-puppet theater to show how the Javanese ruler (and by extension the colonial overlord in the Netherlands Indies of 1913) was identified with an omnipotent God. This hardly seems to be a Sunni-Ashʿarī view of sovereignty, but as Meyer argues, we are reminded of a key Ashʿarī theological idea: God’s “goodness” is irreducible to a conventional definition of that word. Since the Javanese sovereign Senapati (and by extension Suradipura’s colonial overlord) identified himself with God “who embodies absolute goodness,” his killing of Mangir was ipso facto “good.” By acknowledging the sovereign’s violence, Suradipura, Meyer argues, used the Mangir story to articulate a path of Muslim virtue, a path predetermined by God, for Javanese people under colonial rule. This is a different formulation from the one imagined by the Sufi poets of the Sĕrat Cĕnthini a century earlier, but it is nonetheless a spiritual “path,” constructed out of key concepts in pre-Islamic and Islamic Javanese thought, for the colonized Javanese traveler to follow throughout his or her life.

In the hands of Indonesia’s pre-eminent Javanese writer in the national Indonesian language, Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925–2006), on the other hand, the Mangir story became an allegory of the continuing struggle of the Indonesian people to free themselves from tyrannical rulers. To explain, by means of the story, how Javanese people continued to allow themselves to be tyrannized under the so-called New Order after the military coup led by General, later President, Suharto, in 1965–66,12 Pramoedya associates the tyrant Senapati with Islamic concepts of divine predestination, just as Suradipura did, but characterizes such concepts as a “pious pretext” that disguises naked “political machinations.” Pramoedya’s analysis of the “mystification” of New Order rule that kept Javanese people in thrall involves recourse to a resistant reading against the grain to decode traditional Javanese dynastic histories in order to reveal the “veiled, true” nature of internecine family intrigue and struggle behind the scenes of official recorded history. The Dutch Javanologist C.C. Berg (1900–1990) achieved a certain notoriety for his alternative rereading of Javanese historiography, but it should be noted that the search for deeper truths is not new for Javanese interpreters. For example, in a 1918 publication of a Javanese satire, the publisher instructed the audience on a proper reading strategy, explaining that “everything has to be read in reverse in order to understand its true meaning.”13 In 1925, the Sino-Javanese writer Sie Tjien Lok wrote his satirical Sĕrat Pustaka Rasa Jarwa (Book on the Explanation of the Deepest Meaning of Books), in which he undertook this resistant hermeneutics in a humorous way to “disclose” the hidden salacious nature of Javanese historiography.14

“Where Suradipura promoted pious self-cultivation,” Meyer writes, “Pramo-edya demanded political action. …” Both authors had recourse to “traditional” Javanese literature when they examined colonial and post- or rather neo-colonial Javanese society. Their methods of doing so are comparable to how Old Javanese poets turned to Sanskrit epic stories or to how the poets of the Sĕrat Cĕnthini made use of both ancient Old Javanese and more modern Arabic-Islamic tropes and religious concepts to write poetry about their contemporary worlds.

Pramoedya (1925–2006) was a Javanese novelist, short story writer, and literary critic who wrote in Indonesian about the Indonesian Revolution, the early years of Indonesian independence, the nationalist movement before the war, and historical novels about early Javanese history. While Pramoedya was nominated several times for the Nobel prize for literature, Suparto Brata (1932–2015) never became a household name among international literary circles, but he, too, was a Javanese novelist, story writer, and literary critic of repute, albeit of lesser magnitude than Pramoedya’s. In addition to writing Indonesian-language fiction, Suparto also wrote forty novels in Javanese, which cemented his name as a master of modern postcolonial Javanese literature. It is not just for this reason that studies of two of his novels, by Els Bogaerts and Edwin Wieringa, are included in this special issue, but also because contemporary Javanese literature is still the most neglected part of Javanese literary studies by far.

Els Bogaerts’s analysis of Donyane Wong Culika (The World of the Untrustworthy), a novel about remembering the killing fields of 1965–66, approaches this work of fiction the way the writer of an Old Javanese kakawin or the poets of the Sĕrat Cĕnthini imagined their worlds, in terms of how “space” is defined and brought to life. But while, in the case of the pre-modern literary works examined in this collection, the natural world in its various manifestations is the space that is described, lived in, traveled through, and turned into thematic tropes, it is primarily the Javanese “house,” as George Quinn was the first to observe, that constitutes the thematically significant spatial “location” for the modern novel in Javanese.15

Els Bogaerts employs a rich array of theoretical ideas in her exploration of who and what is “located” in the spaces of Donyane Wong Culika. Whereas Keerthi and Kleinman demonstrate how the elaboration of references to local Javanese flora and fauna of the “Kapat world” create a “hyperlocal” space in Old Javanese kakawin, which Bogaerts would call the “common ground between the storyteller and the reader,” in Donyane Wong Culika it is the Javanese language itself, especially speech in ngoko or the informal register of Javanese that is used for telling the story, combined with frequent references to various kinds of popular Javanese theater and the character types found in these performances, that locate author and reader in the same Javanese world. We might think here about the difference it makes, for intended Javanese readers, to read Suparto Brata’s novel in Javanese, which draws them into remembered spaces of 1965–66 filled with emotions and sensations, or to read Pramoedya’s abstract admonitions about the lessons to be drawn from the same events, delivered in impersonal Indonesian, allegorically, by means of a play based on historical events that took place centuries ago in early-seventeenth-century Mataram. Pramoedya’s cerebral “localization” of the Mangir story in 1970s Java is closer to the interlinear “translations” of the Maulud text from Arabic into Javanese during the mid-nineteenth century, as analyzed by Ronit Ricci, than it is to the creation of a Javanese “space” into which a Javanese reader can enter imaginatively in order to remember, even re-experience, the mass killings of 1965–66 in Suparto Brata’s novel.

Suparto Brata performs the same kind of localizing, space-creating fictional magic in his Pethité Njai Blorong (Nyai Blorong’s Tail) which was published just before the violent events of 1965–66, and reflects the idealism and anxieties of the final years of the Sukarno era.16 When Edwin Wieringa writes in his analysis of this Javanese Whodunnit-Bildungsroman that Suparto’s “translation” of the locales found in Mignon G. Eberhart’s 1930 detective novel While the Patient Slept involves a “process of localization … [in which it] is important to know … how a new locale, with all its specific characteristics, leads to new kinds of creativity,” he is summarizing one of the major findings of all the essays in this special issue. The Javanese house in Suparto’s transformation of an American model, particularly Nyai Blorong’s mansion, is even more symbolically-thematically structured than houses in Donyane, approaching the tropological density of a kakawin Kapat landscape. And this 1960s novel is as didactic as Pramoedya’s 1970s Mangir, except here it is didactic in the mode of a thirteenth-century kakawin or the nineteenth-century Sĕrat Cĕnthini, where the pedagogy is inscribed within the location rather than imposed upon it from the outside, in another language. Wieringa’s discussion of Suparto’s education in becoming a writer and the attention he pays to the didacticism of Pethité call attention to what is explicit in Ricci’s essay but only hinted at in the others found in this collection: It is important to investigate the ways in which Javanese writers learned how to “translate” foreign ideas and texts into Javanese ones. The study of that process, which we can broadly call “translation,” is at the center of what Becker calls “a modern philology” and of what Pollock heralds as “a unified transregional and transhistorical academic discipline.”17

The writers of the essays in this special issue of Philological Encounters are all non-Javanese academics who make use of explicit, non-Javanese theoretical methods and approaches of reading literature to tease out indigenous theories and paradigms of interpretation that have not been formally codified as such in Javanese literary tradition but lie implicit within the texts themselves. They combine, one almost wants to say, “play with, hold conversations with,” both kinds of critical understanding to “make sense” of what they are reading. The literary test-cases for what are thus hybrid, Javanese/Western, critical/philological readings are drawn from the era of the vernacularization of Sanskrit literature in Java, the longue durée of the Arabic cosmopolis in Southeast Asia, the colonial Netherlands Indies, and postcolonial Indonesia.

Bibliography

  • Becker, A.L. Beyond Translation: Essays toward a Modern Philology. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000.

  • Bogaerts, Els and Tony Day, eds. Reading Javanese Literature: New Directions. Wacana: Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia 22, no. 3 (2022).

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  • Bogaerts, Els and Tony Day, with a comment by Danielle Chen Kleinman. “Purwaka.” Wacana: Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia 22, no. 3 (2022): ivxvi. doi:10.17510/wacana.v22i3.1104.

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  • Bronner, Yigal, ed. A Lasting Vision: Dandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023. doi:10.1093/oso/9780197642924.003.0009.

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  • Bronner, Yigel. “Concluding Remarks: Who Needs Dandin?” In A Lasting Vision: Dandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters, edited by Yigal Bronner, 458461. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023.

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  • Creese, Helen. “The Balinese kakawin tradition; a preliminary description and inventory.” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 155, no. 1 (1999): 4596. doi:10.1163/22134379-90003880.

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  • Dayeh, Islam. “Introducing Philological Encounters.” Philological Encounters 1 (2016): 13. doi:10.1163/24519197-12340024.

  • Florida, Nancy and Tony Day. “Tapa ing Rame: Women, Islam, and Authority in the Kidung Candhini.” Draft paper presented at the international symposium Early Islamization Reflected in Javanese and Other Texts from Southeast Asia, Osaka University, November 2–5, 2023.

  • Jákl, Jiří. Warriors Killed, Sliced as Cucumber: Food Symbolism in the Martial Scenes of Old Javanese Kakawins. Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Working Paper Series No. 13. Singapore: ISEAS/Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, 2013.

  • Jákl, Jiří. “Literary Representations of War and Warfare in Old Javanese Kakawin Poetry.” PhD diss., The University of Queensland, 2014.

  • Pollock, Sheldon. “Liberating Philology.” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 1, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 1621. doi:10.5749/vergstudglobasia.1.1.0016.

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  • Quinn, George. The Novel in Javanese: Aspects of its Social and Literary Character. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1992.

  • Ricci, Ronit. Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011.

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  • Ricci, Ronit and Willem van der Molen, “Java in Jerusalem: New Directions in the Study of Javanese Literature and Culture.” Archipel 97 (2019): 1318. doi:10.4000/archipel.1004.

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  • Ricci, Ronit, ed. Storied Island: New Explorations in Javanese Literature. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2023.

  • Ricklefs, M.C. A History of Modern Indonesia, Fourth Edition. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008.

  • Wieringa, E.P.De ‘Serat pustaka rasa jarwa’ van Sie Tjien Lok: Een erotische interpretatie van de Javaanse historiografie.” In Macht en Majesteit: Opstellen voor Cees Fasseur, edited by J. Thomas Lindblad and Willem van der Molen. Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden, 2002, 268292.

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  • Wieringa, E.P.Satan’s Sermon: A Late Nineteenth-Century Javanese Courtier’s Criticism of His Own Class.” In Transformation of Religions as Reflected in Javanese Texts, edited by Yumi Sugahara and Willem van der Molen. Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2018, 103141.

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1

Ronit Ricci, ed., Storied Island: New Explorations in Javanese Literature (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2023), 1.

2

In the preface to his widely read essay on Javanese shadow-puppet theater or wayang (“Text Building, Epistemology, and Aesthetics in Javanese Shadow Theater”), A.L. Becker writes: “The developing approach of mine has been called a theory—mistakenly I think—since it grew from a very practical problem of writing and represents a solution to that problem. The problem was how best to convey to an outsider the many, many things I had been learning about wayang from lessons and from performances” (A.L. Becker, Beyond Translation: Essays toward a Modern Philology [Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2000], 23). Becker’s reluctance to acknowledge the theoretical nature of his work echoes the avoidance of theorizing in Javanese literary tradition and owes much to the fact that Becker’s teacher was a Javanese puppeteer, Soedjathi Djathikoesoemo. But it is also symptomatic of a general avoidance of theorizing in approaches to writing about Javanese literature in universities all over the world. This scholarly avoidance, as well as the seeming absence of an interest in literary theory in Javanese literary tradition itself, is remarkable given the plethora of studies “making sense of” Javanese gamĕlan music, modern Indonesian literature, Sanskrit literature, and modern Thai literature, to name relevant literary and musical traditions that have been richly theorized by both indigenous and Western writers.

3

Sheldon Pollock, “Liberating Philology,” Verge: Studies in Global Asias 1, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 18.

4

The phrase “everything made of language” is Pollock’s translation of the Sanskrit word vāṅmaya. Pollock, “Liberating Philology,” 19. Islam Dayeh writes: “If we agree that philology, as a critical method, is inseparable from any textual tradition, then wherever texts exist, a method of making sense of them exists as well” (“Introducing Philological Encounters,” Philological Encounters 1, 2026: 1).

5

The project has already produced two other publications. First, Reading Javanese Literature: New Directions, ed. Els Bogaerts and Tony Day, which is a special issue of Wacana: Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia 22, no. 3 (2022). This collection of short translations and commentaries, together with two essays by young Indonesian scholars on Old Javanese literature, provides the reader with an introduction to the variety of Javanese literary writing and a sampling of different approaches to interpreting them. Second, Storied Island: New Explorations in Javanese Literature, ed. Ronit Ricci (Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2023), which is an Open Access collection of interpretive essays displaying a variety of analytic strategies. For a description and discussion of the research process of the “New Directions” group during the stay at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem from September 2018 until June 2019, see Ronit Ricci and Willem van der Molen, “Java in Jerusalem: New Directions in the Study of Javanese Literature and Culture,” Archipel 97 (2019): 13–18 and Els Bogaerts and Tony Day, with a comment by Danielle Chen Kleinman, “Purwaka,” Wacana: Journal of the Humanities of Indonesia 22, no. 3 (2022): iv–xvi.

6

Helen Creese, “The Balinese kakawin tradition; a preliminary description and inventory,” Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde 155, no. 1 (1999): 45–96.

7

Yigal Bronner, “Concluding Remarks: Who Needs Dandin?,” in A Lasting Vision: Dandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters, ed. Yigal Bronner (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2023), 459. See the essays by Thomas M. Hunter and Helen Creese in Chapter 8 of A Lasting Vision, 412–65, that demonstrate the creativity of the poetic tradition in Old Javanese in which “practice” was “theory” (413).

8

It should be noted that the reading/listening proposed by Day and Florida presupposes a scholarly, erudite background not necessarily shared by the intended 1815 public in Surakarta. We have no information about the readership or reception of the so-called Major Cĕnthini, which only contains occasional references to the sources of its own vast erudition.

9

Jiří Jákl, “Literary Representations of War and Warfare in Old Javanese Kakawin Poetry,” PhD diss., The University of Queensland, 2014, 140–50. See also Jiří Jákl, Warriors Killed, Sliced as Cucumber: Food Symbolism in the Martial Scenes of Old Javanese Kakawins, Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre Working Paper Series No. 13 (Singapore: ISEAS/Nalanda-Sriwijaya Centre, 2013).

10

In a paper written for an international symposium, Early Islamization Reflected in Javanese and Other Texts from Southeast Asia, Osaka University, November 2–5, 2023, “Tapa ing Rame: Women, Islam, and Authority in the Kidung Candhini,” Nancy Florida and Tony Day discuss the earliest version of the Cĕnthini story, known as the Kidung Candhini, which was probably written in the western Javanese port city of Cirebon between 1616 and 1628 during the most destructive phase of Sultan Agung’s war-torn reign. The passage about Amongraga’s journey that they examine in “A Sufi Traveler” in this issue does not appear in the seventeenth-century version of the poem, which also makes no reference to the flight of Amongraga and his two siblings from the coastal city of Giri when it was conquered by Sultan Agung in 1636, which is how the frame story for the 1815 Sĕrat Cĕnthini begins.

11

M.C. Ricklefs, A History of Modern Indonesia, Fourth Edition (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2008), 44–46.

12

M.C. Ricklefs, Modern Indonesia, 322–81.

13

E.P. Wieringa, “Satan’s Sermon: A Late Nineteenth-Century Javanese Courtier’s Criticism of His Own Class,” in Transformation of Religions as Reflected in Javanese Texts, ed. Yumi Sugahara and Willem van der Molen (Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 2018), 126–27.

14

E.P. Wieringa, “De ‘Serat pustaka rasa jarwa’ van Sie Tjien Lok: Een erotische interpretatie van de Javaanse historiografie,” in Macht en Majesteit: Opstellen voor Cees Fasseur, edited by J. Thomas Lindblad and Willem van der Molen (Leiden: Opleiding Talen en Culturen van Zuidoost-Azië en Oceanië, Universiteit Leiden, 2002), 268–92.

15

George Quinn’s The Novel in Javanese: Aspects of its Social and Literary Character (Leiden: KITLV Press, 1992), which is a slightly revised version of his doctoral thesis submitted to the University of Sydney in 1984, is a pioneering and still authoritative study of modern Javanese literature. Quinn’s chapter five specifically deals with “Space, Semiotic Structure and Aesthetics” (Quinn, The Novel, 195–250).

16

M.C. Ricklefs, Modern Indonesia, 294–321.

17

Becker, Beyond Translation; Ronit Ricci, Islam Translated: Literature, Conversion, and the Arabic Cosmopolis of South and Southeast Asia (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2011); Pollock, “Liberating Philology,” 20.

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