CSEAS/MAI Seminar Series: The Old Javanese Ramayana

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Date(s) - 16/05/2013
1:00 pm - 2:30 pm

Gallery Building 55 Clayton Campus


CSEAS/MAI Seminar Series


 Stuart Robson

 (School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics, Monash)


 The Old Javanese Ramayana



Where: Arts Meeting Room, Bld. 55, Monash University, Clayton


When: Thursday, May 16, 1.00 – 2.30.





Following the recent completion of a new draft English translation of the Old Javanese version of the Ramayana, this seminar will be in the nature of a report on ongoing research on this subject.


Being the oldest example of its genre (dated to the second half of the 9thcentury or early 10th), and acknowledged as a fine piece of literature, the OJ RY has been the object of study by Western scholars since the beginning of the 20th century. The present work builds on their efforts.


The approach adopted here is primarily literary. It seeks to investigate the nature of the work and tries to find out what it aims to achieve. Some preliminary conclusions will be suggested. At the same time the translation contributes to the lexicography of Old Javanese – several examples of interesting words will be given.


The textual history of the work has been a problem: are there interpolations or not? If so, should they be omitted from the text and translation? The story has been depicted in the form of reliefs on temples, and has been closely studied by and appreciated indigenous scholars in Java and Bali down to the present day. The OJ RY is a literary monument that Indonesians can rightly be proud of and which deserves to be more widely known.



Biosketch: Stuart Robson


Stuart (born Sydney in 1941) at present bears the title of Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Languages, Cultures and Linguistics in the Faculty of Arts at Monash. He taught Indonesian there for ten years, from 1991 to 2001, after which he took early retirement.


Before being at Monash, Stuart spent many years at Leiden University, teaching Javanese and Old Javanese, and has a number of publications in these areas, including editions and translations of various texts.


Publications in the last ten years include a Javanese-English Dictionary (Tuttle, Singapore, 2002) and a course-book, Basic Indonesian (Tuttle, Singapore, 2010), with Yacinta Kurniasih. Stuart has also done a quantity of translation from Dutch, for example, for the Grote Atlas van de VOC, a seven-volume series completed in 2010.