In Indonesia the new writing culture began since the fourth century AD. The ability of people to make written records continues to grow until the entry of Islam with Arabic script, as well as Latin script brought by Europeans in Indonesia. History of literature in Indonesia is divided into several periods according to changes in social and political momentum in Indonesia, although many experts say the division of literary periodization in Indonesia began since the Balai Pustaka in 1920, some others say that history of Indonesian literature began since Indonesia entered a period of history or a period when new writing is known.
- The period of Hindu Buddha
Periodization begins since the discovery of Yupa inscription that written records found in the fourth century. At that time, the writing adopted the Sanskrit and Palawa letters from India. In the same periods, the poets began to develop their skills in literature. In the Kingdom of Kediri era that located in East Java, there composed of epic book Baratayuda that written in Javanese version by Mpu Sedah and Mpu Panuluh. Besides, there is also written Arjuna Wiwaha book by Mpu Kanwa. Next, in Majapahit Kingdom era, there found a masterpieces of Kertagama book by Mpu Prapanca and Sutasoma book by Mpu Tantular.
- The period of Islamic empire
At first, the stories circulated related to the stories of the Prophet Muhammad, Sunan, Wali, or other saint of Islamic people. But the literature that breathes Islam continues to grow like Suluk Wujil by Sunan Bonang. Suluk Wujil told Sunan Bonang’s lectures to Wujil, a smart dwarf that was an ex-servant of Majapahit Kingdom. (Read also: Islamic Celebrations in Indonesia)
- Old Malay Poets
Literary works are dominated by Syair, gurindam, pantun, and saga. The content of the story revolves around history and morals. The main characteristic of this period is anonymous or no author’s name. They were developed in Sumatra areas such as Riau, West Sumatra, and North Sumatra. A famous example is Hikayat Bayan Budiman and poem written by Ken Tambunan.
- The poets of Balai Pustaka (1920–1950)
The period when Balai Pustaka publisher intended by the Dutch East Indies colonial government had a right to arrange the literature circulation. The results of work literature are mostly romances and novels. There are several major works such as Azab and Sengsara by Merari Siregar, the sinking of Van Der Wijck Ship by Hamka, and Siti Nurbaya by Marah Roesli.
- Pujangga Baru (1930 – 1942)
The Pujangga Baru is a form of reaction from Balai Pustaka publishers who are considered too strict in censorship, especially on works that contain elements of nationalism. The story is dominated by the ideas of community development toward the spirit of nationalism for independence. The major of literature works of this period such as Layar Terkembang from Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana and Armijn Pane’s Shackles.
- 1945 Period
The essence of this literature is inspired by the socio-political circumstances of the revolution to maintain independence. The many forms of work literature produced in the form of poetry and poetry spirit of nationalism. Among the poets of this era is Chairil Anwar with his work Sharp Pebble.
Characterized by the publication of literary magazine Acts of care H.B. Yasin, the literature work of this period is dominated by short stories and poems. A socialist realist story inspired by the issue of communism by NH Dini entitled Dua Dunia. Then, AA Nafis with a collection of short stories Rubuhnya Surau Kami. Those are the two popular work literature in that era.
- 1966’s- 1970’s
This period is marked by the publication of Horizon literary magazine. In those magazines, the literature works are published with the tight selection. Some of people who like to read literature might had subscribed this magazine. Many literature styles were growing like surrealist and absurd. The famous poets include Sapardi Djoko Damono wrote a work literature entitled Perahu Kertas.
At this time, the work in circulation revolves around romance and love. Began to appear popular novels with easy to understand light stories. A novel tittled Karmila by Marga T and Arjuna Mencari Cinta by Yudhistira Ardinugraha are the popular novels in this era. If you go to the literature library, you might possibly find those old novel. (Read also: National library of Indonesia)
The reform of state structures in political, social and economic aspects has given a good chance toward the the development of Indonesian literature. There are many new writers with novels, short stories, poems, and essays with various themes. Freedom of expression provides creativity in the content of the story. A clear example is found novel tittled Saman (discussing about sex) by Ayu Utami. The character of the free and open writing syle, became one of the uniqueness of the literature works in this period.
Along with the shift of political power from Soeharto’s hands to BJ Habibie and KH Abdurahman Wahid (Gus Dur) and Megawati Sukarnoputri, there was an issue of est. 2000 Literators. The emergence of this generation is marked by the rise of works of literature, poetry, short stories, and novels, the theme of socio-political, especially around the reformation.
12. Literature today
Comes up to the millennial era, the literature in Indonesia grows really well. There are many some popular writers that the writing even known in overseas. The popular writers such as Dewi Lestari, Darwis Tereliye, Boy Candra, and many more could be so productive in developing their novels. Moreover, the development of technology in Indonesia has born some new generation of writers that upload their artwork in social media. Nowadays, people could enjoy to read literature artwork thorugh the small screen without bringing the thick things everywhere.
Those are the history of Indonesian literature. If you loved to learn Indonesian language, it is a must for you to learn the literature too. After that, you might be able to find how fun to read the Indonesian literature novel. You would experience the different things from the novel.