The Saga of Siti Mariah is a window into the workings of the Cultuurstelsel or "Forced Cultivation" system imposed in the Dutch East Indies from 1830 until 1870. In this book's pages, the lives of Dutch sugar barons, indigenous elite, European officials, and Chinese middlemen who were enriched under the system intersect with those of Javanese peasants who suffered under its yoke and the Javanese women who were bedded by the Dutch masters and administrators, fit only to be concubines, never wives. Published in serial form in Malay lingua franca between 1910 and 1912, the work forms part of sastra pra-Indonesia, or pre-Indonesian literature-literature written in Malay before the nationalist term "Indonesian" began to be applied to the Malay language texts then being produced in the archipelago.
The Saga of Siti Mariah
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