Indonesian Notebook

A Sourcebook on Richard Wright and the Bandung Conference

Indonesian Notebook

Book Pages: 288 Illustrations: 24 illustrations Published: March 2016

African American Studies and Black Diaspora, Asian Studies > Southeast Asia, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

While Richard Wright's account of the 1955 Bandung Conference has been key to shaping Afro-Asian historical narratives, Indonesian accounts of Wright and his conference attendance have been largely overlooked. Indonesian Notebook contains myriad documents by Indonesian writers, intellectuals, and reporters, as well as a newly recovered lecture by Wright, previously published only in Indonesian. Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher introduce and contextualize these documents with extensive background information and analysis, showcasing the heterogeneity of postcolonial modernity and underscoring the need to consider non-English language perspectives in transnational cultural exchanges. This collection of primary sources and scholarly histories is a crucial companion volume to Wright'sThe Color Curtain.


"Roberts and Foulcher have used impeccable literary historical scholarship in producing a book that maps new territory for studies of Richard Wright’s life, works, and prophetic acumen. Indonesian Notebook is exceptionally valuable for anyone, including political scientists and historians, who is interested in what world literature created during the Cold War period actually challenges us to interpret." — Jerry W. Ward, Jr., Project on the History of Black Writing

"Indonesian Notebook fills out the broader picture of Wright and the conference. It performs a valuable service ... and should encourage further scholarly digging in locales and languages affected by the conference." — Jason Parker, Journal of American History

"In U.S. histories, the meanings of the term the Third World is often rendered as stable. Non-American actors, too, sometimes remain only a spectral presence. By insisting that Indonesian intellectuals and Wright co-produced a different kind of Bandung spirit, Indonesian Notebook instead underscores the contingencies of what one historian rightly calls “the complex and uneven geographies of the postcolonial cold war world.” In doing so it can help us begin to reimagine the politics, and the poetics, of the Third World." — Mark Philip Bradley, Modern American History

"Rigorously researched and beautifully composed." — Taomo Zhou, Southeast Asian Studies

"Indonesian Notebook . . . performs a valuable service." — Jason Parker, Journal of American History

Indonesian Notebook presents a quite unique amalgam of materials that will be of use to graduate and faculty researchers in the field (who will find materials drawn from hard-to-reach sources), and a sourcebook that will work in the advanced undergraduate classroom as an embodiment of the richness of post-colonial studies.” — Guy Reynolds, Griot

"Roberts and Foulcher have provided an important and nuanced exploration of tensions that underlie transnational networks." — Su Lin Lewis, New Books Asia

"An invaluable guide to Richard Wright and to a transnational American studies with new geographical coordinates. Gathering together the documents—Indonesian and Dutch as well as English—written before, during, and after Wright's participation in the 1955 Bandung Conference, Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher go behind and beyond The Color Curtain, giving us a fresh window on a key historical moment."  — Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University

"In this groundbreaking account of Richard Wright and Bandung, Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher advance in fresh and unexpected ways our conversations on the postcoloniality of black histories in the West and the tangled legacies of white supremacy in Asian and African colonialism. Indonesian Notebook's rich layering of Indonesian sources makes this book an indispensable addition to Wright scholarship and reminds us that the quest for equality must confront the stubborn local socioeconomic realities throughout the globe."  — Amritjit Singh, Langston Hughes Professor of English, Ohio University

"This notebook is a tour de force of comparative literary and cross-cultural historical interpretation. Through meticulous scholarship and lucid commentaries Brian Russell Roberts and Keith Foulcher pioneer an innovative approach to Indonesian and African American literatures without reference to cores, peripheries, canons, or English as anything other than a useful lingua franca. This brilliant book demonstrates why scholarly collaboration does the best job of excavating lost interactions between people, cultures, and languages during the big events of planetary history."  — Tony Day, Associate Senior Fellow, ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, Singapore


Availability: In stock
Price: $26.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Brian Russell Roberts is Associate Professor of English at Brigham Young University and the author of Artistic Ambassadors: Literary and International Representation of the New Negro Era
Keith Foulcher is Honorary Associate in the Department of Indonesian Studies at the University of Sydney and the coeditor of Clearing a Space: Postcolonial Readings of Modern Indonesian Literature.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  ix
Abbreviations  xv
Bibliography of Translated and Republished Sources  xvii
On the Translations  xxi
On Spelling and Personal Names  xxiii
Introduction. Richard Wright on the Bandung Conference, Modern Indonesia on Richard Wright  1
Part I. Transnational Crosscurrents
1. The Indonesian Embassy's Cultural Life of Indonesia (Excerpts) (1951)  35
2. Pramoedya Ananta Toer's "The Definition of Literature and the Question of Beauty" (1952)  43
3. S. M. Ardan's "Pramoedya Heads Overseas" (1953)  50
4. De Preangerbode's Review of The Outsider (1954)  56
5. Beb Vuyk's "Stories in the Modern Manner" (1955)  59
Part II. An Asian-African Encounter
6. A Sheaf of Newspaper Articles: Richard Wright in Indonesia's Daily Press (1955)  67
7. Mochtar Lubis's "A List of Indonesian Writers and Artists" (1955)  89
8. Gelanggang's "A Conversation with Richard Wright" (1955)  95
9. Konfrontasi's "Synopsis" of Wright's "American Negro Writing" (1955)  106
10. Richard Wright's "The Artist and His Problems" (1955)  122
11. Anas Ma'ruf's "Richard Wright in Indonesia" (1955)  138
Part III. In the Wake of Wright's Indonesian Travels
12. Beb Vuyk's "Black Power" (1955)  145
13. Beb Vuyk's "H. Creekmore and Prostest Novels" (1955)  152
14. Asrul Sani's "Richard Wright: The Artist Turned Intellectual" (1956)  159
15. Frits Kandou's "Richard Wright's Impressions of Indonesia" (1956)  171
16. Beb Vuyk's "A Weekend with Richard Wright" (1960)  182
17. Goenawan Mohamad's "Politicians" (1977)  207
18. Seno Joko Suyono's "A Forgotten Hotel" (2005)  214
Afterword. Big History, Little History, Interstitial History: On the Tightrope between Polyvocality and Lingua Franca  229
Works Cited  239
Index  253
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6066-7 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6051-3
Publicity material