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Rahmat, Hadijahbte (1996) In search of modernity: A study of the concepts of literature, authorship and notions of self in "traditional" Malay literature. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI: https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029290

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Abstract

The subject of modernity has become one of great concern among scholars of Malay literature and has provoked a strong and continuous debate. There are various views and schools of thought on the origins of modernity, and particularly on the different literary figures identified as the "pioneers" of a new Malay literature and the various criteria employed to define the new or "modem" Malay literature. These differences have led to different ways of and approaches to defining and interpreting Malay literary history. This study attempts to analyse the issues raised. Initially, Abdullah Munsyi is widely acknowledged as a "pioneer" of new literary developments; but this view was later been challenged by studies which put forward other literary figures as "pioneers", e.g. Hamzah Fansuri and Salleh Perang. This study attempts to go beyond the common perception of the issues. It covers seven authors: Hamzah Fansuri, Lauddin, Ahmad Rijaluddin, Fakih Saghir, Abdullah Munsyi, Raja Ali Haji and Salleh Perang. This study focuses only on those works of the authors, namely those considered the most important and representative of their writings. Generally, this study focuses on three main aspects of the texts: the concept of literature, the concept of authorship and the notion of self, expressed explicitly and implicitly. These aspects are considered important to understand the distinctive features of these texts, and to evaluate their role in and contribution to new literary developments. Criteria and theories of modernity which have been aired with reference to literature in Malay are discussed and compared with other literary traditions and experiences, such as the Western and other Asian literary experiences, in order to interpret the meaning of "the modem" in the context of various intellectual and literary traditions. This study attempts to offer a practical definition of the concept of modernity and to make further suggestions to solve the problem of understanding the complexity of the processes of modernisation of Malay literature, and to clarify some related misconceptions. Malay literature here is treated within its proper literary, cultural and historical contexts. By recognizing its unique discourse and culture, this study aims to derive at the true form and meaning of literary modernity and, more significantly, to restore its integrity.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): https://doi.org/10.25501/SOAS.00029290
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10
URI: https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/29290

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