Max Havelaar by Multatuli

Book set in Lebak, Indonesia. Reviewed on 2021/04:

I wanted to give you my #100pagesreview , per usual. But I’m reading #maxhavelaar by #multatuli so fast, that this is really my almost 200 pages review. That’s shocking to me considering that this was published in the 1860s, the structure of the story is messy and the language is embellished and rococo. Anyway I’m loving it. I think the chaotic sequence of events makes for a fast-paced story. The drama behind the writer and #dutch society at the time and #dutchcolonialism is quite appealing. At the end, I think the writer’s writing style brings the story to life in a compelling way. Can’t wait to continue reading. Might change my mind in the next few pages and then hate it. Who knows. Hehehehe

I don’t think there is any doubt that #maxhavelaar has a historical value when it comes to preserving the memory of such a brutal and inhuman project called #dutchcolonialism . #havelaar places himself in the important role of a #traitor : a traitor from the inside trying to uphold his own people to the values they claim to hold dear. It’s easy to see #multatuli as the #denouncer par excellence in Western European societies (Danish, British, Dutch, Belgian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, etc.) which show no real reckoning on the impact of colonialism even today. However, I think reading Multatuli in 2021 feels compelling and relevant in another way. It’s easy to support traitors and dissenters in other societies specially when whatever they’re vindicating benefits us and speaks to us. Beyond that, I think Multatuli is writing about #selfreflection and then honest action within the societies and groups that we all belong to. #recommended #dutchliterature #penguinclassics #dutcheastindies #lebak #indonesia #java #batavia #dutch

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