Storytelling brings into vivid focus the emotions and affects that different classes and races of people experienced in the imperial Dutch Indies island worlds. The storyteller explored in this article is Maria Dermoût (1888–1962), a mixed-race Dutch woman (Indo) who was born and raised on Java in the Dutch East Indies and who spent more than thirty years there. This article argues that Dermoût is a key writer for understanding affective economies, because she devotes significant time and effort in her fiction to fleshing out Native characters, something that few writers of her time did. The novella Toetie, one of Dermoût’s last works, uncovers Indies and Dutch attitudes toward race and color, moving her work from the genre of Indies Letters, or Dutch colonial literature, to that of postcolonial critique, with an exploration of forms of servitude, affect, and the social relations of her time.

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