A Study on Kartini’s Letters

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37. A Study on Kartini’s Letters: Comparing Door Duisternis tot Licht with Brieven

Published in May 2019
Kyoto University Press.



Raden Adjeng Kartini (1879-1904), today acknowledged as a forerunner of women’s emancipation in Indonesia, became famous both in the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies after the posthumous publication of a selection of her letters. The compilation was edited by H. Abendanon under the title Door Duisternis tot Licht [Through Darkness to Light] in 1911. He was the Director of Education, Religion and Industry and a promoter of the Ethical Policy in the Dutch East Indies. Door Duisternis tot Licht is regarded as the principal source on Kartini studies. Kartini’s letters are a humanist account of the global ethic related to the dignity of a human being, an articulation of the new thoughts of the late nineteenth century.
Brieven: aan mevrouw R. M. Abendanon-Mandri en haar echtgenoot [Letters to Mrs. R. M. Abendanon-Mandri and Her Husband] was edited in 1987. Comparison of both the editions. This comparison reveals Abendanon’s compilation deleted nearly 80% (more than 70%) of Kartini’s original content, silencing her voice.