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Colonialism has had a bad press since the sixteenth century The problem in such unanimity of opinion, few ever bother to explain exactly how it creates such misery It this remarkable work which is not a true a novel is the expose of a failing colonial system Using the pen name of Mutlatuli, Eduard Douwes Dekker, a former dutch colonial administrator explained in great deal how the Dutch colonial administration worked and why it was failing.Dekker identified three very fundamental problems 1 Colonialism has had a bad press since the sixteenth century The problem in such unanimity of opinion, few ever bother to explain exactly how it creates such misery It this remarkable work which is not a true a novel is the expose of a failing colonial system Using the pen name of Mutlatuli, Eduard Douwes Dekker, a former dutch colonial administrator explained in great deal how the Dutch colonial administration worked and why it was failing.Dekker identified three very fundamental problems 1 the Dutch forced their colonies to produce crops for exports so as to generate generate revenues for the home country Staple crops were neglected creating poverty and starvation in the colonies which had ample quantities of arable with which to feed their populations 2 the prices of export crops fluctuated wildly, which meant that the export crops could not be relied on to finance the development of an industrial infrastructure electricity, public water supplies, ports, trains, etc Consequently the colonies failed to industrialize 3 finally taxation of the colonies was excessive significantly compounding the problems created the export oriented economy.Modern economic historians whether on the right or the left all agree with Multatuli that directing a colonial s agricultural resources into the production of export crops inevitably created poverty and prevented industrialization n the colonies American industrialized in the north, the farmers produced for a local market The South which produced cotton for export did not.Max Havelaar is well written although highly didactic novel about 19th century European materialism that has stood the test of time well Most of the problems Dekker described still exist in various places through out our planet Reading his book is great way to start to understand the factors preventing economic growth in the third world.After finishing this, you might want to read Iceland s Bell by Halldor Laxness which shows many of the problems described by Dekker for Dutch Indonesia also existing in Denmark s North Atlantic colony If you can read just one Dutch novel, please read this one Although it s from the mid 19th Century, it still is an impressive indictment against colonial injustice Highlights are the character of Droogstoppel, the speech to the leaders of Lebak, the little story about the Japanese stone labourer and the longer story on Sa djah en Adinda The middle piece is a bit tiresome, with lots of elaborations, but I still love this novel 3.5 stars This book has been translated into many, many languages, including English In the words of J.J Oversteegen, found in the Afterword of the Dutch edition I read, Max Havelaar 1860 the uncensored version appeared in 1875 isde grootste roman, die ooit in Nederland geschreven isthe greatest novel ever written in the Netherlands As the Afterword is dated 1983 and not 1883, such an assertion is bound to get my attention since I have a high opinion of the work of Nescio and Harry Mulisc This book has been translated into many, many languages, including English In the words of J.J Oversteegen, found in the Afterword of the Dutch edition I read, Max Havelaar 1860 the uncensored version appeared in 1875 isde grootste roman, die ooit in Nederland geschreven isthe greatest novel ever written in the Netherlands As the Afterword is dated 1983 and not 1883, such an assertion is bound to get my attention since I have a high opinion of the work of Nescio and Harry Mulisch and also usually enjoy reading Cees Nooteboom s books I review a book of Nescio s here Multatuli he who has borne much is the pseudonym of Eduard Douwes Dekker 1820 1887 , who for fifteen years worked in Indonesia for the Dutch government until a final conflict of conscience led to his separation from the service He put those years of experience to excellent use here, but this novel is not just another addition to the literature of the reluctant colonialist.In the first four chapters of Max Havelaar Douwes Dekker lets the detestable Batavus Droogstoppel Drystubble , a coffee broker who considers himself to be the salt of the earth and who has smoothly rationalized everything from his cowardice to his parsimony, skewer himself with his own words while setting up the backstory which accounts for the complicated narrative structure of the novel For the chapters narrated by Mijnheer Droogstoppel are interrupted by chapters told by another narrator, who is supposed to be the result of a collaboration of Droogstoppel s young German apprentice and a down on his luck schoolfriend author This narrator moves the reader from Amsterdam to Indonesia and commences with a detailed description of the political organization of the Dutch East Indies, including a thorough accounting of the situation and duties of an Assistant Resident Max Havelaar, the new Assistant Resident of Lebak coincidentally the position held by Douwes Dekker , is introduced, along with other characters in Indonesia To give you an idea of the wryness of his prose, here is a portion of his description of the Resident he still displayed a calmness, a slowness, and a cautiousness, which would make many a Saurian envious, and which in the eyes of a large number of people are the hallmarks of gentility, of composure, and of wisdom He was, like most Europeans in India, very pale, which, however, in those regions is in no way considered as evidence of unsatisfactory health, and he had delicate features which bore testimony to some intellectual training Only there was something cold in his glance, something that reminded one of a table of logarithms, and though in general his appearance was in no way unpleasant or repellent, one could not refrain from the suspicion that his rather large thin nose felt bored in that face where so little happened Ouch This narrator freely digresses around the mulberry bush and through the woods, including William the Conqueror , and if there is a common thread in all of this plenitude it is the excoriation of Dutch officialdom and the Dutch bourgeoisie But it is done charmingly, with humor, not with a sneer Amusing apostrophes to the Reader and an Indonesian love story also break up the seriousness of the proceedings.For, with occasional interjections from the abominable Droogstoppel, we watch Havelaar s efforts on behalf of the Indonesian people subverted by government officials and profiteers, this despite the official government policy that the Assistant Residents are there to protect the people against any and all abuse And then one of the purpose s of the curious structure of the narrative comes into play The two antithetical views of Havelaar are both rejected as partial, and, at the end, Douwes Dekker drops all the masks and directly appeals to the King of the Netherlands to take heed and do something about it Although the writer of the Afterword of this edition distanced himself from any judgment concerning the significance of Max Havelaar for the subsequent development of the situation of Indonesia, no less a person than the excellent Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer has written that Max Havelaar is the book that killed colonialism, at least in Indonesia Nonetheless, I hasten to reiterate that this book is anything but an artless and humorless political tract Douwes Dekker has taken his struggles on behalf of the Javanese and his resentments against the comfortably hypocritical and or opportunistic among his countrymen at home and abroad and has formed a moving, funny, insightful and carefully constructed novel written in a straightforward but pungent language That it had an impact well beyond literary circles is evento his credit Apparently, the Dutch Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde Society of Dutch Literature proclaimed Multatuli the most important Dutch writer of all time in 2002 Actually, there are many other coincidences identifying Havelaar directly with Douwes Dekker In light of the fact that Havelaar is portrayed as well nigh perfect, whose failings are generosity and a certain absentmindedness, a reader in our cynical age may well be inclined to wince, though it is possible to attribute this larger than life portrait to the romantic enthusiasm of the young German apprentice The use of Droogstoppel is rhetorically masterful, for repulsive as he is, he is not completely repugnant It is possible for people to see some aspects of themselves in the character But Droogstoppel is vehemently critical of Havelaar And he is a complete philistine So, along with the comic relief Droogstoppel provides, his presence could assure that a certain kind of reader a reader who might be politically disenchanted with Havelaar but have cultural pretensions would bewilling to sympathize with Havelaar than otherwise Rating This is an autobiography, masquerading as a novel cum political tract, wrapped in a homage.See, Edward Douwes Dekker set sail for Batavia in the Dutch East Indies in 1838, at the hopeful age of 18, to begin his career as a colonial administrator He proved a tireless worker, yet his rise up the ranks kept getting derailed for what the Dutch called disloyal administration He became maniacal when he observed corruption and injustice, which grew faster under the Culture System than vegetation in t This is an autobiography, masquerading as a novel cum political tract, wrapped in a homage.See, Edward Douwes Dekker set sail for Batavia in the Dutch East Indies in 1838, at the hopeful age of 18, to begin his career as a colonial administrator He proved a tireless worker, yet his rise up the ranks kept getting derailed for what the Dutch called disloyal administration He became maniacal when he observed corruption and injustice, which grew faster under the Culture System than vegetation in the hot Indonesian tropics Douwes Dekker married, had a son, and continued in his postings until, as Assistant Resident in West Java, he filed one official complaint too many against a regent and was dismissed for abuse of authority.So, he went home to Amsterdam and wrote this, intending to change the world This This begins in the words of Drysdale, a coffee broker whose self interest clouds his worldview A spectral figure wearing a shawl who Drysdale thinks of as Shawlman hands him a mass of documents asking him to publish them In the meantime, Drysdale learns that a client old man Stern is considering switching to a competitor coffee broker, so Drysdale cunningly arranges to hire the man s son That would be young man Stern With not much else for him to do, Drysdale asks young Stern to sift through Shawlman s stuff and perhaps make a book out of it which, of course, Drysdale would take credit for.The book that Stern writes is the story of Max Haavelar, Assistant Resident in West Java andwell, it s the story I told you above about Edward Douwes Dekker He paints himself, then, as intelligent, observant, a man who is heartbroken by injustice and given to self sacrifice But he also is maniacal and off putting Priggish, but in a good way, he thinks The kind of man who, since he s writing a novel about himself, lets himself imagine what others may be thinking of himYes, he iswitty, butthere s something superficial in his wit, or, He isintelligent, buthe doesn t use his intelligence properly, or, Yes, he iskindhearted, buthe makes a show of it The kind of man who, when he finally gets to writing his story, adopts the nom de plume Multatuli, meaning I have suffered greatly Did you catch that it is young Stern who sets to writing the story of Max Havelaar That s the homage part I m not at all satisfied with what Stern has written so far I was hoping for coffee, but what he s come up with isgoodness knows what There s and now Stern has gone off on a tangent Andthis very book which Stern is making an ordeal for me And Here a digression is called for, and in fact I would like to digress about digressions.But I digress Douwes Dekker wanted this to be the Dutch Uncle Tom s Cabin He even references Harriet Beecher Stowe and perhaps it was There were indeed reforms Yet people here and there still debate the point This was the last novel about Indonesia that I read before going there to live for 10 months It s not always easy for a 21st century reader to enjoy a 19th century novel, and this one is certainly not going to captivate everyone who undertakes it I stuck with it even though at times it was annoying At the end, I was glad to have read it.I wanted to read it because I have seen many references to this book in my reading about the colonial past of Indonesia The subtitle, Or the Coffee Auctions This was the last novel about Indonesia that I read before going there to live for 10 months It s not always easy for a 21st century reader to enjoy a 19th century novel, and this one is certainly not going to captivate everyone who undertakes it I stuck with it even though at times it was annoying At the end, I was glad to have read it.I wanted to read it because I have seen many references to this book in my reading about the colonial past of Indonesia The subtitle, Or the Coffee Auctions of a Dutch Trading Company, is probably the most misleading tagline ever given to a book, so don t think for a minute that you will learn anything about coffee auctions here The subtitle is not unreasonable just unrepresentative of the story.I was surprised to find how much of the book is in the voice of a Dickensian coffee broker, Batavus Droogstoppel, who lives in Holland and has never ventured beyond its borders But in the story within a story format familiar from other 19th century novels , Droogstoppel has an important part to play and his stolid Dutch businessman s attitudes are an artful counterpoint to the core story, which takes place in Java, in the impoverished state of Lebak.The endearing Max Havelaar is one learns from the introduction to the Penguin Classics paperback a proxy for Eduard Douwes Dekker the author, writing under the pen name Multatuli , who was the Assistant Resident of Lebak in 1856 Max s miserable experiences with the Regent, the Resident and the Governor General the first a Javanese noble, and the other two Dutch colonial administrators serve to illustrate most vividly the oppression of the majority of the people of Java under Dutch rule It s clear that one reason this book is so often mentioned in histories of the period is the level of detail about how the system worked how the fabulous profits flowing out of the Indies and into Holland encouraged the colonial administrators to pretend they did not know how the local people were exploited to produce those profits.I thought often of slavery in North America while I was reading this book The mechanics and interpersonal relationships of the system of slavery were different, but I think the selective blindness of the manufacturers of the North profiting from the raw materials of the South had a lot in common with the ignorance of the businessmen in Holland who profited from the raw materials of the Indies.Just as the publication of Uncle Tom s Cabin in 1851 changed Americans thinking about slavery, the publication of Max Havelaar changed what the Dutch thought about the people in the Indies It could no longer be imagined that they were being compensated for the labor that yielded the coffee and sugar that made Holland rich in fact they were starving to death, or being forced to leave their own lands to avoid starvation There is a lot of complexity in the structure used to tell this tale Based on the collected writings of a Max Havelaar, a Dutch assistant governor of the former colony of Java His writings, originally in German, are translated by a young student residing in the house of the Droogstoppel.Droogstoppel is a wealthy coffee trader, a snob but his insights provide a surprising level of humour.Havelaar is a frustrated administrator who reveals the corruption of the Dutch in it s management of its col There is a lot of complexity in the structure used to tell this tale Based on the collected writings of a Max Havelaar, a Dutch assistant governor of the former colony of Java His writings, originally in German, are translated by a young student residing in the house of the Droogstoppel.Droogstoppel is a wealthy coffee trader, a snob but his insights provide a surprising level of humour.Havelaar is a frustrated administrator who reveals the corruption of the Dutch in it s management of its colony and questions why they are even there what they see as commerce can be seen by the Javanese as greed.A classic of its era with long term political impact |DOWNLOAD EPUB ⚇ Max Havelaar: Ovvero le aste del caffè della Società di commercio olandese ♎ Faccio il sensale nel ramo del caff , e abito in Lauriergracht nCon questo prosaico quanto memorabile incipit si apre il pi grande classico della letteratura nederlandese, pubblicato nelesplodendo come una duplice bomba come capolavoro letterario e come atto di accusa sociale Il libro che ha ucciso il colonialismo , sar definito, e resta un opera di sconvolgente modernit sia per la raffinata struttura narrativa, sia per la forza della denuncia dei misfatti di cui costellata la storia dell imperialismo occidentale Chi parla Batavus Droogstoppel, l irresistibile affarista che incarna, col suo assoluto perbenismo, il reale cinismo e l ipocrisia di un Olanda troppo intenta a fare soldi per chiedersi da dove venga il suo benessere Colpito dall interesse di un fascio di manoscritti che si trovato suo malgrado tra le mani, il buon sensale intende trarne un utile trattatello sulle aste del caff nelle Indie Olandesi, ma tutt altro materiale che ne vedr estrapolato, affidando la stesura al giovane Stern, romantico figlio di un ambito cliente tedesco, di ben diversa sensibilit la ricostruzione della vita di Max Havelaar, coraggioso e idealista funzionario a Giava, che si illude di riuscire a combattere i soprusi dei potenti locali e la connivenza dell amministrazione coloniale e di rendere giustizia ai contadini vessati da entrambi Contrapponendo le due voci, alternando ironia e lirismo, nudi documenti e digressioni, a e cruda violenza, poesia e regole del commercio, l autore arriva a dare complessit critica al suo ritratto dell epoca trionfale dell espansionismo europeo e del sistema di valori su cui si regge E in quel finale io voglio essere letto che grida, strappando la penna di mano ai suoi personaggi e pronunciando la sua definitiva condanna, c il suo atto di fede nella letteratura, nella sua possibilit di scuotere le coscienze puntando il dito alla via del riscatto This is definitely one of the best novels ever written in Dutch, as well as one of the best books ever written by a colonialist reflecting on the system of colonialism It is enjoyable to read the original alongside the 50 pages of fiery endnotes, taken from a later edition, in which the author spills unlimited and ferocious hatred for the book s duplicitous critics who belittled the horrors he saw in Java and slandered him Multatuli was not the modern author who leaves the public to decide for This is definitely one of the best novels ever written in Dutch, as well as one of the best books ever written by a colonialist reflecting on the system of colonialism It is enjoyable to read the original alongside the 50 pages of fiery endnotes, taken from a later edition, in which the author spills unlimited and ferocious hatred for the book s duplicitous critics who belittled the horrors he saw in Java and slandered him Multatuli was not the modern author who leaves the public to decide for themselves the meaning of his book and flees into seclusion In these endnotes, he boldly names the real names of both his critics and the characters in the book, revealing it to be a roman clef Contemptuously citing the haters bad arguments and failure to address his central points, he reminds us that the ad hominem attacks so common on Twitter are nothing new The frame story around the book is probably the best frame story I have read In it, the author hands over the narration to the sort of small minded merchant who he expects will be given the book by his wife perhaps We are shown that where Americans reading Uncle Tom s Cabin were aware of slavery and needed a moralistic lesson in the evils of the system, the Dutch were ignorant of what was happening in Indonesia and felt SATISFIED by their ignorance out of a feeling that they should all mind their own business It is emphasized how the Dutch shut Indonesia out of their worlds, not from any feeling of ethnic or cultural superiority, but simply from an intense desire to avoid hearing about distant scandals that might put the morality of their local business into question In fact, quite unlike the British of that time, most Dutch did not even know how Indonesia was administered or how it related to their burgeoning import business Even today, if you visit the Netherlands, you will find a collective forgetting, a telling absence of their colonial impact in their museums, books, and galleries this incuriosity, I think, is the root of their altogether poor aesthetic sense Multatuli s pointed satire of the narrow mercantile soul is a good reminder of why the Netherlands has produced so little good fiction, and it contains an extravagant and hilarious self caricature by the long suffering author The story itself has been criticized as lacking literary merit, but I found the opposite Like the Tale of Genji, Max Havelaar is both an intensely psychological and personal work that captures an entire society, as well as a manifesto on what it means to write a story If this means it breaks the rules of storytelling rigidly obeyed by a thousand dusty romances, now mouldering unread in a university library and soon to be digitized and buried in an off site archive, so be it The edition I review is a great new translation, bringing out the confrontational and persuasive language of the original Wow, i knew the Netherlands has a deeply shameful history when it comes to their colonies in the East Indies but to read it in so much detail I was deeply vexed and wanted to kick something towards the end of the book I could so empathize with the anger of Max Havelaar How could such injustice exist for so long Multatuli Eduard Douwes Dekker used an interesting way to tell the story, which i liked From what i ve learnt about him in this book, he seemed a person i would have loved to Wow, i knew the Netherlands has a deeply shameful history when it comes to their colonies in the East Indies but to read it in so much detail I was deeply vexed and wanted to kick something towards the end of the book I could so empathize with the anger of Max Havelaar How could such injustice exist for so long Multatuli Eduard Douwes Dekker used an interesting way to tell the story, which i liked From what i ve learnt about him in this book, he seemed a person i would have loved to share a long walk and talk with