A History of South-East Asia

A History of South-East Asia

A History of South-East Asia

A History of South-East Asia

Excerpt

The present work, large and detailed though it may appear to the reader unfamiliar with the subject, is a bare outline, perilously compressed and oversimplified in many parts. As an introduction to South-East Asian history, designed as much for the non-specialist reader as for the student intending to pursue the subject further, its story is told with as few distracting footnotes as possible. Special care, however, has been bestowed upon the selection and arrangement of titles for the bibliography. The available literature, it may be remarked, is immense, running to many thousands of books, articles and collections of printed documents. For the earlier periods there are thousands of inscriptions and a great mass of local chronicles still inadequately explored. For the later periods the contemporary accounts, documents and memoirs listed in Section III of the bibliography are of quite unusual interest.

So much research work is in progress, by European scholars and, happily, an ever-increasing number of Asian ones, that it is difficult to keep pace with the progress of discovery and interpretation over the whole field. Hence the treatment of many subjects, especially in the very important pre-European period, must be regarded as provisional only. For instance, Burma's wealth of inscriptions--and she is incomparably richer in this respect than any other region of South- East Asia--is likely soon to yield results of no little importance as a result of the devoted labours of Gordon Luce over many years. These will certainly lead to modifications in the account of the Pagan period given here. Then, also, research by both Dutch and Indonesian scholars during the past twenty years or so is likely to lead to considerable revision of N. J. Krom version of Old Javanese history. An attempt has been made here to indicate the importance of C. C. Berg's recent series of attacks upon accepted notions regarding the story of Airlangga's division of his kingdom, the reign of Kertanagara and the early Majapahit period. A final pronouncement on these matters is at present impossible, and it is well to take into account the prudent assessment of the situation by J. G. de Casparis in his valuable 'Twintig jaar studie van de oudere geschiedenis van Indonesië'.

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