Indonesian Literature

Indonesian Literature

Indonesian literature, the written literature of the Indonesian high cultures and the literature of the old and young Indonesians (Minangkabau, Batak, Aceh and others), which has been handed down almost only orally. It can be divided into three epochs: Hindu-Javanese (8th – 16th centuries), Islamic-Malay (16th – 19th centuries) and modern Indonesian literature.

Hindu-Javanese literature

With the emergence of Hindu states on Indonesian soil, Hindu-Javanese literature was dominated by Indian culture. A literature developed based on predominantly Indian models and using numerous Sanskrit words in the old Javanese language. The actual Old Javanese literature begins in the 10th century under Mpu Sindok (928–950) with reproductions (Kakawin) of Indian epics (e.g. the “Mahabharata” and the “Ramayana”). New Javanese literature begins with the »Nagara-Kertagama« by Rakawi Prapañca, a poem in praise of King Hayam Wuruk (1350-89) from Majapahit. Formally it corresponds to the Kakawin, but uses Javanese material from history and legend. Clothing emerged as a new literary genre, with Javanese themes as its content and formally freer forms of verse.

Islamic-Malay literature

Through the mediation of Islam, the cultures of Arabia, Persia and India came to the Indonesian region. A literature in Malay language emerged, which made the fairy tales, sagas and fables of the Arab-Persian culture known in Indonesia. There are numerous narratives of the Koran and the prophets as well as Islamic theological literature. Historiography and the historical novel are particularly important for Malay prose. In Malay poetry, the verse forms of Pantun and Syair were particularly developed (in Pantun the first and third lines as well as the second and fourth lines of verse rhyme, in Syair four consecutive lines of verse rhyme).

Modern Indonesian Literature

Modern Indonesian literature began with the proclamation of Malay to Bahasa Indonesia (1928). With the publication of the literary-cultural magazine »Pujangga Baru« (»New Poet«) in 1933, the phase of cultural criticism began, which was divided into two currents: While one advocated the unconditional adoption of Western ideologies and the abandonment of outdated customs (Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana, * 1908, † 1994), the other defended the traditional values ​​of Indonesian culture (Armijn Pané, * 1908, † 1970). In addition to the struggle for national independence, the overcoming of social problems was in the foreground. The group of writers »Angkatan 45« (»The Generation of 1945«) thematized in a vital style universality and humanity, based on the work of the poet Chairil Anwar (* 1922, † 1949). It was followed by the »Angkatan 66« (»The Generation of 1966«), whose representatives took part in the student demonstrations against the Sukarno regime and wrote fighting poems about truth, justice and freedom (Taufiq Ismail, * 1937). After the fall of Sukarnus the representatives of this group articulated the liberation from the suppression of human rights; their literature now contained concrete demands for the fulfillment of elementary life needs. Another theme of the works of this generation was solidarity with the suffering people. Before 1970, this politically and socially oriented literature was replaced by literature favoring experimental forms of poetry, of which Rendra is the most important representative. The leading personalities of the modern age include Supardi Joko Damono (* 1940), Damanto (* 1942), Putu Wijaya (* 1944) and the writer Tuti Heraty (* 1933). Topics in this literature include: the individual and his dignity as well as the inhumane world of the big cities. The most famous contemporary author is Pramoedya Ananta Toer.

Indonesian Literature

The Indonesian Wayang Theater

Shadow plays – the Indonesian Wayang Theater

According to commit4fitness, all traditional forms of theater in Indonesia are summarized under the name Wayang. An addition makes it clear what kind of wayang theater is meant, e.g. B. Wayang golek, playing with wooden puppets, or Wayang wong, playing with actors. The oldest form is wayang kulit, the shadow play. Its origin is believed to be in ancestor worship, because the souls of the ancestors came to the performance in their shadowy world. The oldest account of the Wayang Theater is a stone inscription from 907.

To this day, the shadow play is extremely popular in Indonesia, especially in the former Hindujavan regions. The figures, mostly made of leather and attached to bars, cast flickering shadows of gods, demons and heroes on a transparent screen. Their voices are imitated by the presenter and the gamelan orchestra accompanies the dramatic events. A performance of the traditional Javanese shadow theater takes place at night and can last up to eight hours. It used to be performed for therapeutic reasons as well. If someone was in a dangerous situation, the shown battle between good and evil served to renew and restore the harmonious world order. Currently, however, the shadow play is performed mostly for entertainment.

During the Hindujavan period (around 400 to 1478) on Java, the ancient Indian epics “Ramayana” and “Mahabharata” found their way into the repertoire in the 9th century. In the 16./17. In the 19th century, the topics were expanded to include the stories of the knights Panji and Damar Wulan. In the 19th century, the court poet Ranggawarsita celebrated the courtly life of a legendary Javanese kingdom. This seal became the model for the royal courts of Central Java. The wayang forms have also recently been expanded: the wayang kancil tell animal stories for children, the Christian religion found its way into the wayang wahyu, which deals with episodes from the Bible, and the wayang pancasila deals with contemporary Indonesian history. The Wayang Theater was also used to exert influence. In the tales of Wayang pancasila, which are written in popular language, this is done directly. In the traditional performances, jokers, the Panakawan, took on this task. To do this, they interrupted the action in the hour after midnight with current stories that they told in the language of the people.

World Heritage Sites in Indonesia

World Heritage Sites (K) and World Natural Heritage (N)

  • Komodo National Park (N; 1991)
  • Ujung Kulon National Park (Java) with Anak Krakatau volcano (N; 1991)
  • Buddhist temples of Borobudur (K; 1991)
  • Hindu temple of Prambanan (K; 1991)
  • Sangiran archaeological site (K; 1996)
  • Lorentz National Park (N; 1999)
  • Tropical rainforests of Sumatra (N; 2004)
  • Cultural landscape in Bali : the Subak system as a manifestation of the Tri Hita Karana philosophy (K; 2012)