Dec 07, 2021 Last Updated 12:15 AM, Dec 1, 2021

Remembering a life well-lived

Published: Jul 14, 2007


Keith Foulcher

In the course of a long and eventful life that came to a peaceful end on the morning of 30 April 2006 in Jakarta, Pramoedya Ananta Toer became Indonesia’s most famous writer, both in his own country and internationally. A colourful and controversial figure, Pramoedya was a writer, historian and politically-engaged intellectual who played a central role in modern Indonesian cultural and political affairs for a period of more than 50 years.

Pramoedya’s influence on the lives of younger generations of Indonesian artists and intellectuals began in the 1960s, as Putu Oka Sukanta recalls in his tribute to his great ‘teacher and friend’. At the beginning of a new century, ‘Bung Pram’ continued to inspire a new generation of thinkers, writers and activists, as Linda Christanty and Hilmar Farid record in their memories of encounters with Pramoedya towards the end of his life.

Meanwhile, Pramoedya’s works were also making a real impact on young Australians like Pam Allen and her fellow students at the ANU in the 1970s, as they took their first steps towards engaging with Indonesia and its culture through their study of the Indonesian language. In 2006 this tradition continues, with a new generation of Australian students, like Joanne McMillan at the University of New England, still finding new insights into Indonesian society and history through their study of Pramoedya’s essays, novels and short stories.

Through translation into English and other languages, Pramoedya’s fame has also spread beyond readers of his books in their original Indonesian. As Chris GoGwilt shows, these books now occupy a significant place in world literature, quite independent of the controversies that surrounded Pramoedya in his lifetime and continue to be part of to his legacy.

Pramoedya and his viewpoint on Indonesia have been a presence in Inside Indonesia since the magazine’s foundation in 1983. It is fitting that our final paper edition should be devoted to his memory.

Keith Foulcher (Keith.Foulcher@arts.usyd.edu.au ) is an Honorary Associate of the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney.


Inside Indonesia 88: Oct-Dec 2006

Latest Articles

Review: A project for the whole world

Nov 30, 2021 - GERRY VAN KLINKEN

Merchants and entrepreneurs

Nov 23, 2021 - BUDIMAN MINASNY & JOSH STENBERG

Jews in Sumatra in the colonial period

'Spilling the tea' on sexual violence

Nov 17, 2021 - ANDI MISBAHUL PRATIWI & NIKODEMUS NIKO

Education Minister Nadiem Makarim’s recent acknowledgement of a ‘sexual violence pandemic’ on the nation’s campuses follows a growing wave of victims speaking out and not without risk

Reinforcing gendered roles in lockdown abroad

Nov 08, 2021 - NELLY MARTIN-ANATIAS, ET AL.

The experiences of Indonesian migrant mothers in NZ’s pandemic reveal that the ideals of Ibuism endure

The isolation poems by Putu Oka Sukanta

Oct 09, 2021 - PUTU OKA SUKANTA, VANNESSA HEARMAN & KIERNAN BOX

Poems by Putu Oka Sukanta were translated by Vannessa Hearman and Kiernan Box with commentary written by Vannessa Hearman based on her interview with the poet.

Subscribe to Inside Indonesia

Receive Inside Indonesia's latest articles and quarterly editions in your inbox.

 


Lontar Modern Indonesia

Lontar-Logo-Ok

 

A selection of stories from the Indonesian classics and modern writers, periodically published free for Inside Indonesia readers, courtesy of Lontar