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Eduard Douwes Dekker
BirthplaceAmsterdam, North Holland, Netherlands


see Dekker, Eduard DouwesDekker, Eduard Douwes
, pseud. Multatuli
, 1820–87, Dutch novelist. His experiences in the Dutch colonial service in Java (1838–57) made him an ardent advocate of reform in colonial administration and were the inspiration of Max Havelaar (1860, tr.
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(pseudonym of Edward Douwes Dekker; the pseudonym was taken from the Latin multa tuli, “I have endured much”). Born Mar. 2, 1820, in Amsterdam; died Feb. 19, 1887, in Nieder-Ingelheim, now Ingelheim, Federal Republic of Germany. Dutch writer.

The son of a barge skipper, Multatuli studied commerce. In 1838 he went to the Netherlands East Indies, where he served in the colonial government. In 1856 he became assistent-resident (assistant commissioner) of Lebak, Java, in which capacity he sought to alleviate the oppression of the Indonesians. Encountering the resistance of colonial officials and local feudal lords, he was compelled to resign.

For many years, Multatuli lived in poverty, wandering through cities of the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. He began his literary career in the 1840’s. Multatuli gained recognition for his autobiographical novel Max Havelaar (1859, published 1860; Russian translation, 1959), in which he denounced colonialism and spoke out in defense of the oppressed. Autobiographical in content and imbued with public-spirited fervor, the novel resembles a political satire.

In his autobiographical epistolary novel Love Letters (1861; Russian translation, 1911) and the publicistic pamphlet “On Free Labor in the Netherlands East Indies” (1862), Multatuli criticized capitalist society as a whole. He condemned bourgeois morality, government, and religion in A Conversation With Japanese (1862), in Discussions (1869, published 1870) and, especially, in his monumental work Ideas (vols. 1–7, 1862–77). Ideas most fully reveals Multatuli’s views on literature and art, which he considered all-important in the moral education of a people. Multatuli’s drama School of Princes (1872) was written in the spirit of Enlightenment ideals. Multatuli’s world view was influenced by the enlighteners and Utopian socialism; however, the impossibility of realizing democratic ideals in the 19th-century Netherlands led to contradictions in his sociopolitical views.

Multatuli’s prose is characterized by aphorism, a fragmentary style (unified, however, by a single idea), and unadorned, direct language. His critical realism influenced H. Heijermans and H. Gorter. Multatuli’s works played a significant role in the exposure of the colonial system; they influenced European public opinion and helped form the world view of the first Indonesian enlighteners and leaders of the national movement.


Volledige werken [vols.] 1–10. Amsterdam, 1950–60.
Brieven [vols.] 1–10. Amsterdam, 1890–96.
In Russian translation:
Povesti, skazki, legendy. St. Petersburg, 1907.
Prikliucheniia Val’tera Petersena. St. Petersburg, 1908.
Izbr. proizv. Moscow, 1949.


M. G. K. [anon.] Mul’tatuli i ego proizvedeniia. St. Petersburg, 1903.
Oshis, V. V. Mul’tatuli: Biobibliograficheskii ukazatel’. Moscow, 1971.
Oshis, V. V. “Obshchestvenno-politicheskie vzgliady Mul’tatuli.” Novaia i noveishaia istoriia, 1974, no. 3.
De Mare, A. Lijst der geschriften van en over E. D. Dekker. Leiden, 1948. Maatstaf, March, 1970, no. 11.


References in periodicals archive ?
Its opening part makes one think about the most famous works of SCren Kierkegaard or Multatuli.
Whereas Kierkegaard and Multatuli silenced the original author as a literary device, Lewis has done admirable work in reviving some of the personalities behind the indigenous ethnographic texts which appear in translation in this book.
novel by Multatuli called Max Havelaar, or the Coffee Auctions of the
And it is Pramoedya that introduces us into the values of Multatuli when Theodore Friend in his Indonesian Destinies notes that Pramoedya in his imprisonment ".
Max Havelaar is the title of an 1860 novel written by Eduard Douwes Dekker under the pen-name Multatuli that played a key role in changing the Netherlands' colonial policy in the Dutch East Indies in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
Thus spoke Multatuli, one of the most important anti-colonial writers (Max Havelaar) of modern Dutch history.
In een overzicht van de ontstaansgeschiedenis van Die Pietermaritzburgse Debat en Letterkundige Vereniging (9) noemt Mabels echtgenoot De Genestet, Nicolaas Beets, Tollens, Bilderdijk, Vondel, Multatuli en Conscience als schrijvers wiens werk tijdens de vergaderingen besproken werd.
They borrowed the name from the Dutch, who had started Max Havelaar in 1989, naming it after the book "Max Havelaar" written by the Dutch writer Multatuli.
Multatuli died in 1887, and the copyright in his works is long-expired.
He ultimately quit in protest to write the novel Max Havelaar, using the pen-name Multatuli.
Resente boeke uit sy pen sluit die volgende in: Multatuli w Polsce (2000), Miedzy Holandia a Indonezja (2000), Outsider onder de zijnen: vormen van xenofanie in de Afrikaanse roman (2002).
Ikzelf was zeer opgetogen met het resultaat van een enquete van de Maatschappij voor Nederlandse Letterkunde uit Leiden, die haar leden vroeg om "de meest canonieke schrijver" uit ons literair erfgoed aan te duiden: Multatuli kwam duidelijk als eerste naar voren (Anon.