The Passage of Literature: Genealogies of Modernism in Conrad, Rhys, and Pramoedya

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pramoedya ananta toer, literature

This book has emerged from a number of different conversations, exchanges, and crossings of paths. Growing from so many different occasions, the book has been enriched by many more people than I can possibly thank individually here.

I owe an enormous debt to all those who have supported my informal apprenticeship in Indonesian studies: Ben Anderson, for his generous comments and advice in 1995 and 1996; Go Gien Tjwan, for many conversations about Indonesian history and politics; and all those who helped organize and who participated in the events of April 1999, during Pramoedya’s visit to New York, especially Joesoef Isak, Maemoenah Thamrin, and Pramoedya Ananta Toer; and also the co-organizers, Will Schwalbe and John McGlynn. For ongoing conversations, I thank Alex Bardsley, Nancy Florida, Peter Hitchcock, Sanjay Krishnan, Max Lane, Henk Maier, John Pemberton, and André Vltchek. Above all, I thank my father-in-law, Go Tie Siem, for the wealth of his experience, for material help in translating Indonesian texts, and for the generosity of his time arranging meetings with Go Gien Tjwan, Wim Wertheim, and Oei Tjoe Tat, not to mention Pram himself.

The book has been enriched by conversations at many different academic conferences and seminars, including several MLA panels, conferences on Conrad in Philadelphia (1997), Gdan´ sk (1997), Vancouver, BC (2002), and Orange, California (2010); and events organized for the Symposium on the Diaspora of Cultural Studies and the Literary Studies Program at Fordham. I have drawn numerous insights from conversations at these and other events, and thank (among many others) Andrzej Busza, Robert Caserio, Yvette Christiansë, Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé, Laurence Davies, Kim Hall, Nico Israel, James Kim, Jakob Lothe, Peter Mallios, Roz Morris, Zdzisław Najder, Francesca Parmeggiani, John Peters, Nicola Pitchford, Ann Stoler, and Andrea White. I acknowledge my debt to three very different readers of Conrad I was privileged to be able to meet while they were alive: Eloise Knapp Hay, Hans van Marle, and G. J. Resink. I continue to learn from all my students, colleagues, and friends, and I thank those who have read portions of the manuscript, or who have provided crucial advice at critical moments: John M. Archer, Madeleine Brainerd, Fraser Easton, T. Kaori Kitao, and Fawzia Mustafa.

Formally, I acknowledge the support of two Fordham faculty fellowships—one in the academic year 2000–1 that enabled me to conceive the overall shape of the project; and one in fall 2005 that helped me complete a substantial portion of the manuscript. I thank Liz Foley O’Connor and Fordham’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for providing her the research assistantship to help with the fi nal stages of this book manuscript. I owe special thanks to both of Oxford’s anonymous reviewers for their invaluable suggestions. I would also like to thank Brendan O’Neill and the entire editorial team at Oxford for their invaluable assistance in realizing the final shape of the book.

Parts of the following study have appeared in earlier versions elsewhere. A version of chapter 2 was published in Conrad in the Twenty-First Century: Contemporary Critical Approaches and Perspectives , edited by Carola Kaplan, Peter Mallios, and Andrea White (New York: Routledge, 2005). I thank Routledge for permission to republish an expanded and revised version of this essay. I thank the editors, too, for their valuable comments.

The photographs from Rob Nieuwenhuys’s Tempo Doeloe referred to in chapter 2 were reproduced in that essay (with permission from Querido), but I have not reprinted these photographs here, wishing to emphasize the medium of the printed word rather than the photographic record, while at the same time underscoring the fact that the printed word is itself inscribed in relation to a photographic— and phonographic—archive. A version of chapter 4 was published in Geographies of Modernism , edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker (New York: Routledge, 2005). I thank Routledge for permission to republish an expanded and revised version of this article. I thank the editors, too, for the opportunity to publish this essay and for their comments on the essay itself. A version of chapter 6 was published in Comparative Literature Studies 44, no. 4 (Winter 2007), 409–33. I thank the Penn State Press for permission to republish an expanded and revised version of this article.

Last, but by no means least, I want to thank my family. I have an impressionistic childhood memory, before I could read myself, almost a baby, of seeing the title cover of Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea on a bookshelf at home. The distortion of memory is all my own, but whatever I may have learned right about reading and writing words I owe both to my mother and to my father. I trust Richard and Philip can patiently correct my childhood memory and I thank them for a brotherly apprenticeship in listening to the inevitably distorting Scottish effects of English words.

I thank Cai and Keir for allowing me to bring dictionaries to the dinner table so often. No words can express my thanks to Siu Li. I owe her everything. For their wisdom, experience, and practical help, I thank May Li and Soesilowati. I have already acknowledged the debt this work owes to my father-in-law, Go Tie Siem. For the countless ways he has supported my study of Pramoedya, I dedicate the book to him. I hope that dedication might also be understood as acknowledgment of my debt to the family he raised in Rome, the family he now lives with in Toronto, and the extended family of Tan sisters, whose Stamboek (Tan Tjwan Liong. Soerabaia. 1915) now includes Cai and Keir, along with many other family relatives (kerna kita bisa taoe kita ampoenja toeroennan). Their genealogies cross paths with the genealogies of modernism traced in this book.


Christopher Lloyd GoGwilt

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