Principles of Indonesian Philology
The personal view of philology presented in the Working Paper is both a stocktaking and a programme for development. At a time when Indonesian and foreign scholars are asking questions about the Indonesian ‘classical literary heritage’, a fresh impulse is needed to propel the work of philologists forward. Their work is to make texts accessible, and they achieve this through both the techniques of presentation and of explanation and interpretation; philology is thus more than mere ‘textual criticism’, according to Stuart Robson.
Existing views are assessed in a critical but balanced manner and fruitful avenues of exploration are pointed to. It turns out that thinking on philology is moving ahead faster than one might suspect, so that the form of the Working Paper is appropriate to suggest an on-going process, where views neglected today may receive more attention tomorrow.
The publication of texts from manuscript materials in Indonesian languages calls for a consideration of method: no one method is prescribed; one has to take account of genre, it is suggested, as well as textual tradition. Furthermore, part of the aesthetic content of a text is lost if we fail to consider how it sounds, its ‘music’. And finally, there is surely room for more literary translations from Indonesian texts—all part of an endeavour to introduce them to a wider audience and to foster a better understanding of their nature and content.