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This Earth of Mankind

de Pramoedya Ananta Toer

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

Sèrie: The Buru Quartet (1)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
6961327,245 (4.1)70
Minke is a young Javanese student of great intelligence and ambition. Living equally among the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, he battles against the confines of colonial strictures. It is his love for Annelies that enables him to find the strength to embrace his world.
  1. 10
    The Black Lake de Hella S. Haasse (mercure)
    mercure: Zelfde problematiek, maar met een ander perspectief. Toer bekijkt de ongelijkheid vanuit de Indonesische ervaring, Haasse vanuit de Nederlandse.
  2. 10
    Max Havelaar: Or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company de Multatuli (mercure)
    mercure: Max Havelaar was an inspiration for Mincke; his nom de plume was based upon this influential book.
  3. 00
    Polarising Javanese Society de M. C. Ricklefs (mercure)
    mercure: Historical background
  4. 00
    Ronggeng Dukuh Paruk de Ahmad Tohari (mercure)
    mercure: A trilogy about a strong Indonesian woman
  5. 00
    Sang pemula dan karya-karya non-fiksi (jurnalistik), fiksi (cerpen, novel) R. M. Tirto Adhi Soerjo de Pramoedya Ananta Toer (mercure)
  6. 00
    Letters of a Javanese Princess de Raden Kartini (mercure)
    mercure: Raden Kartini's letters are another classic that is refered to.
  7. 00
    De njai : het concubinaat in Nederlands-Indië de Reggie Baay (mercure)
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This Earth of Mankind (Bumi Manusia) is the first in the Buru Quartet, so called because it was conceived on the island of Buru— where Pramoedya was imprisoned without trial in 1965 when the military dictatorship of President Suharto cracked down on anyone they thought had communist sympathies. (See Wikipedia for more information about the anti-Communist massacres in 1965-6). Pramoedya had been researching the history of Indonesia for what was to be a series of historical novels about the beginnings of national consciousness in Indonesia in the period 1890-1920, but when he was arrested all his books and materials were burned. Undeterred by the prohibition on books and writing materials in the prison, Pramoedya narrated his novels to his fellow-prisoners, but it was not until 1975 that he was finally able to commit his works to paper. This Earth of Mankind was finally published in 1979 in Jakarta, and thanks to a young Australian Embassy staffer called Max Lane, it was translated into English in 1982. (Lane was promptly recalled to Australia because of Indonesian displeasure at his role in disseminating the novel, and you can read why he thinks everyone should read this book here).

The novel traces the coming-of-age of Minke, a Javanese teenager of aristocratic descent. He is the only ‘Native’ Javanese at his prestigious high school, distinct and not fully accepted by the other students who are either ‘Indos’ (of Eurasian descent) or members of the ruling Dutch Colonial Society. In the Translator’s Acknowledgement, Lane explains the significance of these strata in society and the capital letters which denote them in the text. In the Dutch East Indies of this period, (beginning in 1898 when Minke is besotted with the young, pretty (and of course unattainable) Dutch Queen Wilhemina), society is stratified by race and caste, and languages are used to exclude and include. Natives were forbidden to use Dutch, the elite language of colonial power, so it shocks people when Minke uses it because he’s learned it at school, and it enrages the authorities when it is spoken by a self-educated concubine fighting for the rights of her child. But rigid class distinctions within the Javanese society were also observed: by the use of three different levels of Javanese, based on the status of the speaker and the listener. Understanding these distinctions and the frequent references to languages spoken and forms of address is important to understanding the significance of these codes being breached. (A glossary at the back of the book is provided). (It’s possible, perhaps, that these egalitarian breaches of hierarchical etiquette were part of the reason why the work was judged pro-Communist).

There are numerous other indications of this stratified society. Apart from the choice of language and the ability to speak it, race and caste are denoted by access to transport. Natives walk. Nyai— only able to break out of her lowly status and confer privileges just like a Dutch colonialist because she turfed out her useless husband— provides Minke with a carriage, and because her daughter can ride a horse, Minke learns to do it too. Housing styles and furniture are different in the homes of the elites, and Minke’s friend Jean Marais has a thriving business getting locals to reproduce European designs. Minke often feels uncomfortable and out of place because he doesn’t know social rules such as the use of cutlery, but he’s also discomfited when he recognises that the social rules are being deliberately used to humiliate him, (as when his fair-weather friend Robert Suurhof places him in a situation where as a Native Minke could expect to be completely ignored). And the position of women and girls in mixed-race relationships is invidious. Concubines are held in contempt by everyone, whether the woman chose her fate or not. Jean, the daughter of the Frenchman Jean Marais and an Achenese woman, must be sheltered from public scorn about her origins; and her mother wanted to be killed because she felt sullied by the touch of a European. Nyai’s daughter has no friends at all.

To read the rest of my review please visit https://anzlitlovers.com/2018/10/25/this-earth-of-mankind-the-buru-quartet-1-by-... ( )
  anzlitlovers | Oct 25, 2018 |
“This Earth of this Mankind” (1975) is the first of the Buru Quartet of historical novels written by Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer. The other three are “Child of all Nations”, “Footsteps”, and “House of Glass”. The books describe the Dutch colonial era end 19th/beginning 20th Century, from the perspective of various population groups, most notably the young Minke, a Dutch-educated Javanese. The stories were originally told to the fellow prisoners on Buru Island, where Pramoedya was incarcerated during the early years of the Suharto regime, deprived of writing materials. Later, with the help of the same prisoners, the stories were written down, and published, initially only outside Indonesia, where they were banned. This may have helped in turning them into perhaps the most important piece of Indonesian literature, well worth reading. ( )
  theonearmedcrab | May 16, 2016 |
"Aarde der mensen" is het eerste en in mijn ogen mooiste deel van een serie van 4 boeken "De Buru-tetralogie" die Pramoedya Ananta Toer tijdens zijn gevangenschap op het eiland Buru schreef en die als onderwerp hebben het opkomende nationalisme van de Indonesische bevolking en de verhouding tussen de inlandse bevolking en het koloniale Nederlandse gezag aan het begin van de 20e eeuw.
Hoofdpersoon in "Aarde der mensen" is Minke, een inlander, zoon van een belangrijk man, die op de HBS in Soerabaja zit, als enige inlander. In Indonesië kent men 3 groepen mensen: de Totoks, oftewel de volbloed Europeanen die bovenaan de ladder staan, gevolgd door de Indo's, mensen die afkomstig zijn uit een huwelijk tussen een Europese man en een inlandse vrouw en de inlanders, de oorspronkelijke bewoners van het land.
In het begin van het boek neemt een vriend van de HBS Minke mee naar de boerderij Buitenzorg. De boerderij is in naam een Europese onderneming, maar wordt in feite gerund door Njai Ontosoroh, de inlandse concubine van Herman Mellinga. De vriend die Indo is wil indruk maken op Annelies, de dochter van njai Ontosoroh, maar ziet tot zijn verbazing dat zowel dochter als moeder veel enthousiaster zijn over Minke.
Wat volgt is deels een liefdesgeschiedenis over de liefde tussen Minke en Annelies en deels een verhaal over de politieke situatie van die tijd. Beide verhaallijnen maken veel indruk en zorgen ervoor dat ik dit boek een van de grote romans van de 20e eeuw vind.
"Aarde der mensen" is het eerste deel van een tetralogie en wordt gevolgd door "Kind van alle volken", "Voetsporen" en "Het glazen huis". ( )
  erikscheffers | Jan 23, 2015 |
This novel paints a vivid and often, indeed, melodramatic portrait of the evils of Dutch colonialism and institutionalized racism in Indonesia at the very end of the 19th century. It gave me insight into a time and a place that were largely unfamiliar. It is also a coming-of-age story, a political tale, and, less successfully, a love story. Originally created and recited orally while the author was imprisoned by the postcolonial government and denied access to writing materials, this novel is the first part of a quartet.

The story is told by Minke, who is about 16 when it begins and an aspiring writer. The descendent of Javanese nobles (although the reader doesn't know this as first), Minke is a Native, in the terminology of the time, below the Indos (Indo-Europeans, who are half Indonesian and half European), who in turn are below the Pures (or white Europeans, largely Dutch). Nonetheless, he has been allowed to attend an elite Dutch school where he is the only Native, and has been influenced by his teachers' emphasis on the ideals of European culture. The school is in Surabaya, which Wikipedia tells me is now Indonesia's second largest city, although it seems to be a pretty sleepy town in this novel; Minke boards with a couple there.

As the novel begins, Minke is taken by a friend to visit a house that lies out of town (and just down the road from a Chinese brothel). There lives a Nyai, or concubine, a Native woman who lives with a European man without being married, her beautiful daughter Annalies, and her son Robert. As Minke's friend hangs out with the son, Minke comes to know both Annalies and the mother, and they warmly encourage him to return, as Annalies has no other friends. The mother, who goes by Nyai, but asks Minke to call her Mama, is a remarkable woman. As the reader finds out later, she was sold by her parents to the Dutch man, and then taught herself reading, languages (including flawless Dutch), and business practices, and now runs the Dutch man's entire business enterprise.

As the tale progresses, the reader learns more about Nyai's and Minke's backgrounds, Minke meets some interesting but not fully developed characters who help in various ways, falls in love with Annalies, visits his parents, and becomes involved in a catastrophic series of events. These events, and the variety of other characters, serve to illustrate both the complexity and the horror of the colonial system.

I had mixed feelings about this book, and there were times when I almost gave up on it, largely because I just couldn't understand the relationship between Minke and Annalies. Minke is a smart, thoughtful, young man and Annalies, although ravishingly beautiful, seems painfully lacking in almost everything else; she is clearly psychologically disturbed and clings onto her vision of escape through being constantly with Minke (some of the weaker portions of the book are where the devoted European doctor tries to explain early psychology to Minke). The strongest parts of the novel are the development of Minke and the portrait of colonial Indonesia: the people, the landscape, the racism, the oppression, and the various kinds of resistance to the Dutch. By the end of the book, I enjoyed it enough to order the next volume in the quartet, which will follow Minke as he develops as a journalist.
4 vota rebeccanyc | Jun 8, 2013 |
At the dawn of the twentieth century, traditional Javanese life and culture are no longer an option for the smart young aristocrat Minke. Javanese culture is too bellicose, superstitious, and too negative towards women compared to the promise of modernity offered by colonial society. However, the transition to modernity and the character of colonial society are full of inconsistencies, and everybody in Bumi Manusia/Earth of Mankind suffers the consequences. The social and legal segregation between the various racial communities is the one inconsistency that the book elaborates most about. Unfortunately, no analysis of the causes of this segregation is given.

Loosely based upon the life of Tirto Adhi Soerjo, Pak Pram has produced a heavy handed novel, written while he was himself incarcerated as a political prisoner by the post-colonial Indonesian government. You may ask yourself if the book is always a proper reflection of the times. E.g. I could not imagine that nobody would applaud when Minke finished his exams as the best student of his school, because he was a “native”. However, the story is written from Minke’s perspective, and given the story it is perfectly plausible that this was how he experienced the situation. Certain timelines also seem very short and some unimportant story lines simply disappear. Overall however I found it quite a strong novel. ( )
1 vota mercure | Apr 18, 2011 |
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» Afegeix-hi altres autors (10 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Pramoedya Ananta Toerautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Belenson, GailDissenyador de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Daigle, StephenAutor de la cobertaautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lane, MaxEpílegautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Lane, MaxTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Mazzala, NicolaDissenyadorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Slamet-Velsink, Ina E.Traductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
Versteegen, JosTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat

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Minke is a young Javanese student of great intelligence and ambition. Living equally among the colonists and colonized of 19th-century Java, he battles against the confines of colonial strictures. It is his love for Annelies that enables him to find the strength to embrace his world.

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