Pramoedya Ananta Toer

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Pramoedya Ananta Toer,

1925–2006, modern Indonesia's preeminent writer of fiction, b. Blora, Java. The son of a nationalist headmaster, he was a longtime journalist, involved left-wing politics from the 1940s until his death. Pramoedya, who wrote in Bahasa Indonesia, composed his first novel, The Fugitive (1950, tr. 1975), while serving a sentence (1947–49) in a Dutch prison camp for anticolonial activities. Later he wrote a number of novels and stories set during the Japanese occupation and during and after Dutch rule. When SuhartoSuharto
or Soeharto
, 1921–2008, president of Indonesia (1967–98). A veteran of the war for independence (1945–49) against the Dutch, he became army chief of staff in 1965.
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 seized power in 1965, Pramoedya was beaten, arrested, and imprisoned for 14 years. Held for a decade on Buru, a remote island penal colony, he was not permitted to write for many years. He told stories to his fellow prisoners, however, and when he was finally allowed a typewriter, these tales formed the basis of his epic fictional masterpiece, The Buru Quartet, a chronicle of a Javanese journalist coming of age in the latter years of Dutch colonialism. Following his release (1979), Pramoedya lived under house arrest for 13 years. Nonetheless, the Buru novels were published as This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations (both: 1980, tr. 1982), Footsteps (1985, tr. 1990), and House of Glass (1988, tr. 1992). Critically acclaimed, enormously popular, and translated into more than 20 languages, these and his more than 25 other works were subsequently banned in Indonesia. Among his other books are The Girl from the Coast (1982, tr. 2002), a novel, and The Mute's Soliloquy (1989–91, tr. 1999), a searing prison memoir. Many of his stories were translated in the collections A Heap of Ashes (1975), Tales from Djakarta (1999), and All That Is Gone (2004).


See A. Vlchek and R. Indira, Exile: Conversations with Pramoedya Ananta Toer (2006); study by B. Hering, ed. (1995).

Toer, Pramoedya Ananta


Born Feb. 6, 1925, in Blora, central Java. Indonesian writer. A leading representative of the “1945 Generation”; since the mid-1950’s, a member of the Society of People’s Culture (Lekra).

From 1947 to 1949, Toer was a victim of repression by the Dutch military administration. In prison he wrote the short-story collections Sparks of Revolution (published 1950), The Dawn (published 1950), and Crippled Souls (published 1951). He also wrote the novels Persecution (published 1950), Partisan Family (published 1950), and On the Bank of the Bekasi River (published 1947; Russian translation, 1965). These works, which contain elements of pacifism and protest against all forms of violence, express the theme of sacrifice for the victory of the Indonesian revolution.

Subsequently, Toer wrote collections of short stories that stressed social criticism, for example, This Is Not a Fair (1951), Stories of Blora (1952; translated into Russian as About What Passed, 1957), and Stories of Jakarta (1957); he also wrote the novel Corruption (1954). Toer is also the author of publicist monographs. He has translated works by foreign writers, including Soviet Russian writers, into Indonesian.

After the events of 1965, Toer was arrested and sent to a concentration camp on the island of Buru.


Midah, simanis bergigi emas. [Bukittinggi-Jakarta] 1962.
In Russian translation:
Eto bylo v luzhnom Bantene. Moscow, 1961.


Smurova, N. M. “Tvorcheskii put’ Pramud’i Ananty Tura.” In the collection Voprosy filologii stran Iugo-Vostochnoi Azii. [Moscow] 1965.
Teeuw, A. Modern Indonesian Literature. The Hague, 1967.


References in periodicals archive ?
In the current era, Indonesia has been represented by many writers, the greatest of whom is Pramoedya Ananta Toer, internationally famous for his remarkable Buru Quartet, which he wrote while being imprisoned by Suharto in the raw jungle island of Buru for 14 years.
of New York-Graduate Center and Baruch College) looks at the extended narratives--trilogies and tetrologies--by Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Wilson Harris, Nuruddin Farah, and Assia Djebar.
Rather than the official stories, Vickers chooses as his guide the dissident writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Tjerita dari Biota (1963; Eng.
Prominent writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer, dubbed Indonesia's Albert Camus, was buried at a Jakarta cemetery Sunday afternoon, attended by family members, close friends and admirers of his works.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer (1925-2006), author of the Foreword to Poulgrain 1998 (pages vi-xxiii, one version in Malay, one in English), was perhaps Indonesia's leading writer.
There is Pramoedya Ananta Toer ("from 1965 until 1979, I was a political prisoner in a penal colony established by a man whose company McCarthy would surely have enjoyed: General and then president Suharto").
Indonesian author Pramoedya Ananta Toer, recipient of the grand prize in the 11th Fukuoka Asian Culture Prizes, said that Asian politicians appear to be considered illogical, while Western ones are often seen to be logical, having everything calculated.
Pramoedya Ananta Toer is the preeminent novelist of Indonesia and is frequently mentioned as a candidate for a Nobel Prize.
The collection likewise covers a variety of censorship issues: physicist Mikhail Byckau recalls the day after Chernobyl; Indonesian novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer discusses the burning of his books; and Arthur C.
Siegel completes his book with a translation and discussion of a short story 'Flunky + Maid' written by Pramoedya Ananta Toer while a Dutch prisoner.
But critics say the measure, reported in the Indonesian media Tuesday, is not enough since the government still blacklists books that it claims promote Marxism, Leninism or communism, such as those written by well-known novelist Pramoedya Ananta Toer.