Chairil Anway (1922–1949) was the primary architect of the Indonesian literary revolution in both poetry and prose. In a few intense years he forged almost ingle-handedly a vital, mature literary language in Bahasa Indonesia, a language which formally came to exist in 1928. Anway led the way for the many Indonesian writers who have emerged during the past fifty years.
This volume contains all that has survived of Anwar’s writing. It not longer need the sort of introduction it did soem thirty years ago when Burton Raffel first published English translations of Anwar’s work. Raffel now presents the complete poems and the small amount of surviving prose in new translations with new interpretations.
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The period from 1966 to 1999 represents a distinct era in Indonesian history. Throughout the “New Order” regime of President Suharto, the policies of economic development and political stability were dominant. However, the public opinion of personal expression was consistently under suspicion, and indeed dissent was severely punished. Secrets Need Words traces the development of Indonesian poetry throughout this entire period.