This is a detailed, narrative–based history of Classical Malay Literature. It covers a wide range of Malay texts, including folk literature; the influence of the Indian epics and shadow theatre; Panji tales; the transition from Hindu to Muslim literary models; Muslim literature; framed tales; theological literature; historical literature; legal codes; and the dominant forms of poetry, the pantun and syair. The author describes the background to each of these particular literary periods. He engages in depth with specific texts, their various manuscripts, and their contents. In so doing, he draws attention to the historical complexity of tradisional Malay society, its worldviews, and its place within the wider framework of human experience. Dr. Liaw’s History of Classical Malay Literature will be of benefit to beginning students of Malay Literature and to established scholars alike. It can also be read with benefit by those with a wider interest in Comparative Literature and in Southeast Asian culture in general.
Local renderings of the two Indian epics Ramayana and Mahabharata in Malay and Javanese literature have existed since around the ninth and tenth centuries. In the following centuries new versions were created alongside the old ones, and these opened up interesting new directions. They questioned the views of previous versions and laid different accents, in a continuous process of modernization and adaptation, successfully satisfying the curiosity of their audiences for more than a thousand years. Much of this history is still unclear. For a long time, scholarly research made little progress, due to its preoccupation with problems of origin. The present volume, going beyond identifying sources, analyses the socio-literary contexts and ideological foundations of seemingly similar contents and concepts in different periods; it examines the literary functions of borrowing and intertextual referencing, and calls upon the visual arts to illustrate the independent character of the epic tradition in Southeast Asia.
This Festschrift engages in the richness and variety of literatures and cultures of the Malay world, and goes beyond its shores to encounters between different cultures and traditions, and to the relationship between literary and other disciplines. Rainbows of Malay Literature and Beyond communicates the absorbing richness of inter-disciplinary study and knowledge.