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This chapter sets the scene for Wright’s Indonesian encounters through a series of excerpts taken from the “Language and Literature” section of a booklet published by the Indonesian Embassy in Washington, DC, in 1951. The booklet’s foreword was written by Ali Sastroamidjojo, at that time Indonesian ambassador to the United States and later the proposer and chair of the Bandung Conference. Relating the history of modern Indonesian literature to the official narrative of Indonesian nationalism, the booklet links the emergence of this literature to the moderate cultural nationalism of Dutch-educated Indonesian youth in the 1920s. This literature’s latest developments are seen to lie in the works of the modernist authors who formulated the concept of universal humanism during the Indonesian revolution against the Dutch. One prominent young fiction writer is Pramoedya Ananta Toer, whose work is said to reflect the influence of Richard Wright.

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