Item description for The Heritage of Traditional Malay Literature: A Historical Survey of Genres, Writings, And Literary Views (Verhandelingen Van Het Koninklijk Instituut Voor Tall-, Land- En Volkenkunde) by Vladimir Braginsky...
Traditional literature, or "the deed of the reed pen" as it was called by its creators, is not only the most valuable part of the cultural heritage of the Malay people, but also a shared legacy of Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, and Brunei.
This book, the first comprehensive survey of traditional Malay literature in English since 1939, embraces more than a millennium of Malay letters from the vague data of the seventh century up to the early beginnings of the modern literatures in the late nineteenth century. The long path trodden by traditional Malay literature is viewed in historical and theoretical perspectives as a development of integral system, caused by cultural and religious changes, primarily by gradual Islamization. The book not only repesents an original study based on a specific historico-theoretical approach, but it is also a complete reference work and an indispensable manual for students.
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scholarly study of Malay literature Sep 27, 2005
A rich literature dating back to the seventh century which reflects Sanskrit and Islamic elements and forms, Persian and Sufi poetics, and philosophical concepts of Plato and Aristotle as these were filtered through various Middle Eastern and Asian lands, Malay literature is nonetheless ethnically and geographically confined so that it is possible to "embrace at a single glance...the relative completeness of its forms and themes." Braginsky, Professor of Southeast Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of London, does so; although for him to refer to his voluminous, impressively scholarly study ranging from generalizations to meticulous examination of lines of poetry as a "glance" is an understatement if ever there was one. Practically speaking, Malay literature as a distinct literary tradition is no more, having been effaced by the social and cultural forces of the modern world. Besides, the Malay culture of Southeast Asia never had the vast population and large geographical reach of the dominant regional powers of China and India. Yet Malay literature managed to exert an outsized, though limited, influence on the incomparably more widespread, lasting regional literatures for its richness from the way it "fused, adapted, transfigured, and indiginized" the varied influences it came into contact with as well as for the complex forms it worked over the course of its periods defined by Braginsky. One wishes for more samplings of Malay writings. But more would have made a large and dauntingly complete and learned book with an 80-page bibliography larger, though perhaps less daunting. No matter--ones solidly motivated to learn about Malay literature will gain from the work what they need to know for a full appreciation of its historical background, subjects, and forms, and for Western readers, its exoticism.
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