An Anthology of Traditional Malay Literature
Author: Muhammad Haji Salleh
Publisher: Penerbit Universiti Malaya
This anthology of traditional and classical works is a collection of poetry and fiction, legal digests, epistles and religious treatises, narrated, sung or written in the Malay language, in the Malay Archipelago. This language was and is widespread in the Malay Peninsula, Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak, Brunel, in Kalimantan, (Indonesian Borneo), including Pontianak, Ketapang, Sintang, Banjarmasin, Kutai and Samarinda. It was the lingua franca for most of Insular Southeast Asia and even in parts of Continental Southeast Asia, and to be found in Southern Thailand, in the provinces of Satun, Patani and Nakorn Sithammarat, and some islands in Southern Philippines.
This time-span of traditional Malay literature covers a period from the earliest beginnings of oral works, through the inscriptions on stone and metal, and through further developments in oral storytelling, the advent of writing. In the decades of the 18th and 19th centuries a collision with western colonial powers and their cultures has resulted in a literature that reflected this traumatic confrontation and also, the so-called 'modern' elements. Along with this too we notice the rise of the new genres of the report, the travelogue, the autobiography and biography, which interestingly are prominent antecedents of modern literature.