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Introducing New Staff 38


ROBSON, Stuart Owen
(Visiting professor, September 2014)

My name is Stuart Robson (born 25 April 1941 in Sydney, Australia). I arrived at TUFS on 1 September 2014, at the invitation of Professor Koji Miyazaki, to be a visiting researcher in the area of religious change as seen through Javanese literature.

After my first degrees at the University of Sydney, I took my doctorate at the University of Leiden (1 May 1971), in the area of Javanese literature; then spent several years in Indonesia assisting with the Old Javanese-English dictionary of P.J. Zoetmulder; taught Indonesian at the University of Auckland (New Zealand); then went back to Leiden to teach Javanese; and finally ended up at Monash University (Melbourne, Australia) as Associate Professor of Indonesian; and up to the present still as an Adjunct there.

Although not pretending to be a linguist, I am interested in lexicography and grammar, in particular in the context of teaching, witness the Javanese-English Dictionary (2002) and Javanese Grammar for Students (3rd edn 2014). However, my major publications have been in Javanese literature, mainly Old Javanese – a product of the Hindu-Javanese civilization found on the island of Java in former centuries, and till now in Bali. The literary products of this period include long poems termed kakawin, comparable to the Sanskrit kāvya.

An example of this genre is the Arjunawiwāha (‘The Marriage of Arjuna’), a text-edition and English translation of which appeared in 2008. Other publications were in collaboration with one of the great names in this area, the late Professor A. Teeuw, e.g. Bhomāntaka (‘The Death of Bhoma’) in 2005. Since then I have completed a translation of the Old Javanese Rāmāyaṇa (awaiting publication), and am currently working on a text-edition and translation of the Old Javanese kakawin Ghatoṭkacāśraya, a romantic narrative dating from the second half of the 12th century.

So the approaches employed are those of philology, literature, and cultural history. The literary products of earlier times are a mirror of the beliefs and concepts adhered to by the authors and their audiences, so that a discussion of these may be of relevance to the theme of ‘religious change’, and in any case can serve to showcase the remarkable achievements of the Javanese in the past.

A few selected publications

  • Javanese-English Dictionary (with Singgih Wibisono; with the assistance of Yacinta Kurniasih). Singapore: Periplus, 2002.
  • Javanese Grammar for Students; A Graded Introduction (third edition). Clayton: Monash University Publishing, 2014.
  • Arjunawiwāha; The Marriage of Arjuna of Mpu Kaṇwa. Bibliotheca Indonesica 34. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2008.
  • With A. Teeuw: Bhomāntaka; The Death of Bhoma. Bibliotheca Indonesica 32. Leiden: KITLV Press, 2005.
  • Principles of Indonesian Philology. KITLV Working Papers 1, 1988.
  • Wangbang Wideya, A Javanese Pañji Romance. Bibliotheca Indonesica 6. KITLV Leiden, 1971.

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