The Vanishing Genre of the <i>Nyai</i> Narrative

Christopher GoGwilt

in The Passage of Literature

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780199751624
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199866199 | DOI:
The Vanishing Genre of the Nyai Narrative

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Chapter 6 examines the literary and historical significance of narratives about the nyai (concubine, mistress, or house-servant) published during the turn from the nineteenth to the twentieth centuries. Explaining the significance of the genre of the nyai narrative for Pramoedya's Buru tetralogy, the chapter argues that the formation and disappearance of this genre during the turn of the century may be traced in the work of Joseph Conrad. Reflecting on the traumatic core of Indonesian modernism, Pramoedya's return to the genre of the nyai narrative reflects, in turn, on a traumatic core of early twentieth-century transnational modernism.

Keywords: Pramoedya Ananta Toer; Joseph Conrad; Jean Rhys; nyai; English; Indonesian; transnational modernism

Chapter.  10239 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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