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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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At Home and Not at Home in Empire

At Home and Not at Home in Empire

Transnational Phantasies of Colonial Modernity

(p.50) Chapter 2 At Home and Not at Home in Empire
Situated Testimonies

Laurie J. Sears

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines the transnational movement of bodies, fashions, phantasies, and memories between colony and metropole by focusing on the fiction of Tirto Adhi Soerjo and Louis Couperus as “situated testimonies” in fin-de-siècle Dutch and Dutch Indies literary archives. It compares Dutch metropolitan culture as portrayed in Couperus's novels of Den Haag with Dutch Indies colonial culture as depicted in the novellas and short fiction of Tirto. It explores the themes of colonial modernity and sexual degeneracy that permeate the works of both authors, producing dread and melancholia in Couperus's writings and haunting anxiety in Tirto's fiction. It also situates Tirto's Malay-language writings in another kind of minor literature: that written in the Sino-Malay language, or what Pramoedya Ananta Toer calls lingua franca Malay. Finally, it discusses the implications of Couperus's study of melancholia and darkness for scholars of psychoanalysis, colonialism, and Sigmund Freud.

Keywords:   phantasies, fiction, Tirto Adhi Soerjo, Louis Couperus, Den Haag, colonial modernity, sexual degeneracy, melancholia, lingua franca Malay

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