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Situated TestimoniesDread and Enchantment in an Indonesian Literary Archive$
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Laurie J. Sears

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780824836832

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824836832.001.0001

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Desire, Phantoms, and Commodities

Desire, Phantoms, and Commodities

Maria Dermoût’s Colonial Critique

(p.17) Chapter 1 Desire, Phantoms, and Commodities
Situated Testimonies

Laurie J. Sears

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the colonial critique that is embedded in Maria Dermoût's stories, which are set in a phantasized fin-de-siècle period and filled with colonial nostalgia and loss. It first discusses the idea of an imperial field structured by colonial relations and how novels are obsessed with the time of Indies colonial modernity and portray the interiority of family life. It then turns to Dermoût's two novels, Only Yesterday and The Ten Thousand Things, both of which address the themes of desire, transgenerational haunting, racial difference, and the circulation and transformation of commodities. It also highlights the complexity of Dermoût's sense of loss and shows that her stories of family entanglements are full of gaps and phantoms; commodities substitute for her characters' unending lack. The chapter argues that Dermoût's works are situated testimonies, commemorations of tempo doeloe, and colonial critiques.

Keywords:   desire, Maria Dermoût, imperial field, novels, colonial modernity, transgenerational haunting, commodities, loss, phantoms

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