Multatulis Roman in neuer Perspektive - Multatuli’s Novel from New Perspectives
Edited By Jaap Grave, Olf Praamstra and Hans Vandevoorde
One hundred and fifty years ago, in 1860, Multatuli's Max Havelaar was published. Set in 19th century Amsterdam and in the then Dutch colony of the East Indies the novel caused a considerable stir among contemporary readers. The quality of the novel justifies multiple and fruitful research not only outside the language borders but also in an interdisciplinary way. That is the goal of this book: to do research on narratological, poetical and intertextual aspects of Max Havelaar, and moreover to make it the subject of postcolonial, ideological and historical analyses. In this way, during a conference at the Free University Berlin in December 2010 literary scholars not only widened and brought the Multatuli research up to date, but also examined the novel from new perspectives.
The Meaning of Silence in Max Havelaar; Judit Gera
The Meaning of Silence in Max Havelaar Judit Gera It is a challenge to examine silent places in a text such as that of Max Havelaar, in which speaking, telling stories, reciting poetry, narrating and the use of dif- ferent languages play such a crucial role. According to Wolfgang Iser the so- called “blanks” are inherent to all literary works.1 Blanks are communicative gaps between the literary work and its reader. These gaps can never be filled in unambiguously. Iser distinguishes two types of “blanks”: negation and negativ- ity. Negation is when the narrator overtly refuses narration and he denies the validity of that narration. An example of negation is when Max Havelaar and his family arrive in Rangkas Betung. The narrator gives a detailed description of Havelaar and his wife Tine as they are stepping out of their coach. The narrator however refuses to give any detailed information on the native female servant of the family: The babu he [Max Havelaar – J.G.] had helped out of the coach resembled all the other babus in the East Indies when they are old. If you know this type of servant, I do not need to tell you what she looked like. And if you do not know, I cannot tell you (94). Negativity however contains omitted, silenced or implied elements of the pro- tagonists themselves. These empty places are filled in by the reader according to his/her interpretation of the text. There are several tropes of negativity: one of them is...
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