One of the most forceful indictments of colonialism ever written and a masterpiece of Dutch literature, in an esteemed translation by an award-winning translator
Max Havelaar—a Dutch civil servant in Java—burns with an insatiable desire to end the ill treatment and oppression inflicted on the native peoples by the colonial administration. Max is an inspirational figure, but he is also a flawed idealist whose vow to protect the Javanese from cruelty ends in his own downfall. In Max Havelaar, Multatuli (pseudonym for Eduard Douwes Dekker) vividly recreated his own experiences in Java and tellingly depicts the hypocrisy of those who gained from the corrupt coffee trade. Sending shockwaves through the Dutch nation when it was published in 1860, this damning exposé of the terrible conditions in the colonies led to welfare reforms in Java and continues to inspire the Fairtrade movement today.
Roy Edwards’s vibrant translation conveys the satirical and innovative style of Multatuli’s autobiographical polemic. In his introduction, R. P. Meijer discusses the author’s tempestuous life and career, the controversy the novel aroused, and its unusual narrative structure.
Multatuli is the pseudonym of Dutch author Eduard Douwes Dekker. Born in 1830 in Amsterdam, he is best known for Max Havelaar, a partly autobiographical novel that he penned after 18 years of civil service in the Dutch East Indies, where he… More about Multatuli