The Once and Future King is a novel by T. H. White about the legend of King Arthur. It is often assigned reading in English literature classes and is composed of. Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Gr 9 Up—The version of the Arthurian legend that inspired the Broadway musical Camelot and the Disney. Editorial Reviews. From School Library Journal. Gr 9 Up—The version of the Arthurian legend The Once and Future King - Kindle edition by T. H. White.
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Title: The Once and Future King Author: White, T. H. [Terence Hanbury] ( ) Date of first publication [novel]: April Edition used as. Whites masterful retelling of the saga of King Arthur is a fantasy classic as legendary as Excalibur and Camelot, and a poignant story of adventure, romance . PDF | 75 minutes read | On Jan 1, , Evans Lansing Smith and others Anthony Burgess includes The Once and Future King in his 99 Novels: The Best in.
It is the tragedy, the Aristotelian and comprehensive tragedy, of sin coming home to roost. But we also see pride in the persistent struggle of these people whose heritage had been diluted by the Anglo-Normans represented by Arthur who had, for centuries, attempted to yoke the Celtic peoples. However, when read alongside his personal letters, the second book of the four—originally published as The Witch in the Wood and later as The Queen of Air and Darkness —manifests arthuriana Edit though he might, he could not exorcise this matriilial anxiety out of his work. He is famously credited with reuniting and restoring the realm of Kediri in eastern Java after a period of division and conflict, and with commissioning some of the greatest works of classical Javanese literature kekawin.
The prophecy text is attributed to a 12th century king, Jayabaya. Not unlike the work of Thomas More, and the genre of western utopian literature in general, the political concepts outlined in this Indonesian literary tradition have been a perennial source of inspiration for political change. Palabras clave: APA Reuter, T. Utopianism as Poli- tical Practice in Indonesia.
Guerra Ed. Ediciones Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia. Pablo Guerra. Ediciones Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, Guerra, Pablo Ed. Ediciones Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia, , pp. Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia Introduction This chapter presents an analysis of a long-standing socio-political practice on the island of Java, Indonesia, whereby a set of classical utopian prophecies are used to critique the political order of the day.
This oral and textual tradition outlines an ideal form of government and thus serves as a source of utopian aspirations. Authorship of the most popular corpus of prophecies is attributed to a 12th century king, Sri Aji Jayabaya. While this attribution cannot be verified historically, Jayabaya is certainly a historical personage. He is famously credited with reuniting and restoring the realm of Kediri in eastern Java after a period of division and conflict, and with commissioning some of the greatest works of classical Javanese literature kekawin.
The two large remaining royal houses of contemporary Java, Yogyakarta and Surakarta, both trace their descent to King Jayabaya. This theme of the return of the just king is central in the later texts of the prophecies. At various times, certain individuals have proclaimed themselves as the new ratu adil, and a few of them gained some recognition in connection with 19th century rebellions against Dutch colonialism.
While the achievement of Indonesian independence in brought to an end this particular crisis of colonial domination, the majority of my Javanese interlocutors believe that a deeper crisis of social injustice continues unabated until today, and that the just king has not yet returned.
Prophetic utopianism and utopian fiction differ mainly with regard to the strength of their respective claims to validity. This difference is not so great as to present an obstacle to a fruitful comparison. A large part of the utopian and dystopian imaginaries of modern western fiction writers, while their authors may not see themselves as prophets or scientific futurologist, are generally most well received by readers if they provide credible or at least internally coherent renditions of possible future societies.
Javanese prophecies jangka or ramalan lay an additional claim to validity because they have a religious foundation, given that they are said to be the work of a divine incarnation of the Hindu deity Vishnu, namely King Jayabaya. Moreover, as I shall detail below, the capacity of predicting the future is underwritten by Javanese mystical beliefs.
Consequently, the utopian prophesies of Java do make firmer assertions about the future than standard utopian literature might, but they are assertions nonetheless. Prophetic predictions about the future cannot be falsified historically because the texts do not normally set a specific time for the occurrence of the future events they predict.
Indeed, the intention of these texts is to inspire rather than to convince readers. The difference between utopian and prophetic literature rests largely on their respective rhetoric of legitimacy.
In Java, the ability to predict the future is regarded as a standard accomplishment within the field of spiritual practice. These traditional practices, among many other things, aim to purify and cultivate the faculty of foresight ngramal that is usually underdeveloped but latently present in all other human beings.
Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia prophets and others shape the future through the exercise of imagination. And all utopian fiction is certainly an exercise of creative intelligence insofar as it imagines the necessary conditions for a better future.
It is on this basis that a comparison is possible. The aim of this chapter is to add some much needed cross-cultural diversity to the study of utopianism, as well as using the comparative method to identify some of the reasons for the universal appeal of utopianism.
The influence of this literature has been consistent from the colonial period until now. Most contemporary Indonesians are still familiar with the prophecies today, and many modern writers utilize the text as a resource or simply as an excuse to reflect on the past, present, and future of their country. Consistently, this literature has risen to new peaks of popularity every time there has been a serious crisis in Indonesia, and each time it is interpreted anew to reflect the spirit of the times.
Such consistent practical use of a body of utopian literature for articulating changing popular aspirations for the future is very interesting because it has few parallels in Western societies. Modernism and science, though they both have utopian beginnings, have instilled such a powerfully realist attitude in the western mind that political utopianism is often and all too easily dismissed, nowadays, as a phantasy. While the phenomenon of creative imagination is not entirely ignored by mainstream science, this important human faculty is not afforded the serious epistemological status it deserves as a source of truth.
There is sense perception, which gives the data we call empirical. And there are the concepts of understanding entendement , the world of the laws governing these empirical data… Yet the fact remains that between the sense perceptions and the […] intellect there has remained a void.
That which ought to have taken its place between the two, and which in other times and places did occupy this intermediate space, that is to say the Active Imagination, has been left to the poets. The very thing that a rational and reasonable scientific philosophy cannot envisage is that this Active Imagination in man… should have its own noetic or cognitive function, that is to say, that it gives us access to a region and a reality of Being which without that function remains closed and forbidden to us.
For such a science it was understood that the Imagination secretes nothing but the imaginary, that is, the unreal, the mythic, the marvelous, the fictive. Utopian imagination posits what the world could be like, and thus can inspire us to employ our will and skills to change our actual social, cultural and political reality, so as to more closely conform to this image of a better world.
Truth is not just read off the world but also creatively inscribed upon it by human imagination and action. For now, science is only beginning to recognize the importance of this most characteristically human faculty. Following a brief social history of the prophetic utopian genre in Java, I will argue that these texts function as a means not simply of predicting but of imagining and actively shaping the future in the present see Reuter, The analysis of the religious cosmological foundations that support the Javanese idea of futurology will be supported by a critique of modernist notions of rationality, from the perspective of which prophetic and other forms of utopia- nism are all too easily dismissed.
While there have been a number of studies of millenarianism in Java Kartodirdjo, ; Suwandi, ; Florida, , this social science-based literature tends to ignore the epistemological status of the prophetic-utopian imagination, and thus tends to explain away the phenomenon with narrow, functionalist arguments. I will be focusing primarily on the Jayabaya corpus of literature herein, and will begin by examining this corpus historically, both as a narrative and as a political tradition.
Almost every contemporary Indonesian has some familiarity with the major predictions of the Jayabaya corpus. Others have read the texts, usually in the form of a recent pamphlet-style edition, of which there are dozens, each with somewhat different content. Nevertheless, I did engage in a detailed study of the history of these texts as part of my research on this topic, drawing on manuscripts in the royal libraries of Yogyakarta and Surakarta as well as numerous private collections.
The actual author of the text may have used the good name of Jayabaya in order to lend credibility to his own predictions. On the other hand, it also cannot be ruled out that this historical figure, credited with being a just king and divine incarnation in a number of 12th century copper plate inscriptions, did indeed produce or commission such a text.
The main reason is that the historiographical record for Indonesia, typically, features the same gap that is observable also in the history of the Jayabaya prophesy texts. This gap is between the oldest surviving manuscripts using strips of lontar-palm leaf, which usually date back no further than the early 19th century, and the youngest royal inscriptions on bronze plates or stone, which ceased to be issued after the 13th century.
Most of the oldest palm leaf texts we find in contemporary collections are no doubt transcriptions of earlier versions of the same text, the original manuscripts of which have long since been lost. Palm leaf is not a very durable material, and regular transcription onto fresh palm leaves was common practice.
It is difficult to be certain of the antiquity of any text beyond the age of the actual manuscript, also because scribes took liberties in adapting the language of the older texts they transcribed, whether on palm leaf or later on paper, which makes linguistic dating difficult.
What is beyond any doubt, however, is that the just reign of Jayabaya was real, is still remembered in Java as a golden age, and has provided the main inspiration for this literary tradition. What is also certain is that the prophecies have been extremely popular, poli- tically influential and contentious for the last years at least, which is as far as I have been able to document them.
The earliest remaining manuscripts were produced by and still are kept in the royal libraries of Surakarta and Yogyakarta. Few people have read or are able to read these texts, among them the authors of later versions, and hence what we are dealing with today is very much a popular genre based on a corpus of earlier texts. Cheap reprints of the already diverse corpus of early texts, with ever-new interpretations attached, have been made widely available to the public in small, inexpensive booklets ever since the late 19th century.
Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia quickly and are then out of print. Almost everyone today has heard of the essential tenets of the prophecy and its utopian vision from such late editions.
In the course of my very extensive search for the original literary sources of this tradition I collected, transcribed and translated more than sixty different early handwritten versions in Javanese language and sometimes still in Javanese script, some in prose and some in traditional poetic meters, adding up to about 1.
Later, published versions of some of the same texts are available in Indonesian language, but unfortunately these modern translations are often incomplete or selective and their authors often do not even mention the source document. The earliest complete written Jayabaya prophecy text I was able to locate is from the royal library at the Pakualaman palace in Yogyakarta.
It is not difficult to see what the concerned scribe is referring to. A scribe in a royal library would have been well aware that this modification of the text was a conscious act of historical revisionism.
Nevertheless, the 18th century Islamized text by and large still follows the plot of an earlier, Hindu version, as is evident from what fragments of the original Hindu version can still be found today in other manuscripts.
Most written versions I was able to collect show some signs of a superimposed Islamic theology and eschato- logy. Of these, the writings of the Surakarta poet and royal scribe Ronggowarsito, who was the first to massively popularize the genre in the late 19th century, are perhaps the most well-known today. An unnamed palace scribe created this annotated collection from a variety of earlier manuscripts, upon the request of King Paku Alam II Reconstructing a hypothetical original version of the text would be a complex philological project, rather than an anthropological one, and most likely to be futile.
It would also lead away from the purpose of understanding the prophecies as they are read in Javanese society and used in politics. From this more practical perspective, it could even be argued that the fusion of Islamic and Hindu ideas in the prophecy texts did them no harm, but made them all the more inclusive and effective as a means of political mobilization in a slowly Islamizing society.
If the texts have changed it is because Javanese society has also changed, and this in itself is a perfect demonstration of how alive and strong this literary tradition continues to be.
They are an immensely popular, widely respected and significant statement about the ideal political order of society, and it is this that makes them so useful as a key for understanding Javanese society. The prophecies first received attention in the West when one of the texts was found and translated by a Dutch scholar in the mid 19th century Hollander, This prophecy inspired a number of serious rebellions against the Dutch colonial regime.
The most famous one, perhaps, was under the leadership of Prince Diponegoro, who was widely believed to be the predicted saviour or ratu adil at the time Carey, Rumours of the appearance of this figure circulate time and again, until this very day, and with special frequency at times when the country is seen to be in a state of crisis.
Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia to relate the texts to the current events and political struggles of their times. Importantly, the research shows that a steep rise in the frequency of such references occurred during every major political crisis of the 20th century.
The first and greatest of these crises was the struggle for national indepen- dence. The prophecies were incredibly important during the colonial period, and were frequently mentioned in the political speeches and propaganda material of the independence movement. When the Dutch made their short comeback attempt after the end of the Second World War and the departure of the Japanese troops, they seized all copies of the book at the printers, and destroyed them. The book was later reprinted and, in his foreword pp.
Alas, not every president or democratic government lives up to this moral standard. Indeed, the prophecy text list a long succession of future heads of state claiming to serve the people but failing to do so. Every time Indonesia has a new president he is thus identified as one of the future rulers of variable merit already predicted by Jayabaya. For example, interim President J.
The second major crisis that sparked new interest in the Jayabaya prophecies took place in when General Suharto replaced the charismatic founding President Sukarno in a bloody military coup. Suharto and his inner circle, under the leadership of a Javanese spiritual leader tokoh kejawen , practiced a veritable cult of Semar in secret.
In the prophecies of Sabdapalon the latter had promised to return and take charge of Java once more, some years after the great Hindu empire of Majapahit had fallen due to the introduction of Islam and a subsequent civil war around the year ad. He also promised that upon his return he would restore the old religion or agama budi, which is variously interpreted as signifying Hindu-Buddhism, or the religion of Javanese spiritual knowledge budi , or even modern science.
The prophecy is thus rather hostile toward Islam and, indeed, so was General Suharto for the greater part of his reign. Until today, his successors have left this principle intact despite much renewed pressure from Islamic political movements in recent years and despite the major constitutional reforms that took place after the restoration of democracy in The period leading up to the fall of Suharto in and also the early years of the subsequent reformasi period bore witness to the third and most recent major resurgence in the popularity of the Jayabaya prophecies.
Numerous re-publications of the texts appeared around this time and in the subsequent years of instability. Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia The Prophesies of Jayabaya in the Context Of Javanese Mysticism and Politics The historical review in the preceding section has shown that the Jayabaya corpus is a long established but also a living, contemporary tradition and part of an active political process, embedded in a uniquely Javanese mystical worldview see also Quinn, The proponents of Javanese mysticism seek direct access to the truth through rigorous asceticism and other spiritual practices.
Such consciousness is said to span up to eleven dimensions rather than the usual three dimensions of human language-based awareness. The descriptions some Javanese mystics have given to me of their spiritual peak experiences are indeed reminiscent of the hyper-sphere concept that modern mathematicians have developed to provide a more tangible understanding of time as the fourth dimension within the geometry of the space-time framework Rucker, Spiritual practice thus is said to make possible a direct encounter with a deeper reality that is beyond time and yet includes it.
When a practitioner of Javanese mysticism displays a capacity to prophesize the future accurately, this is regarded as one kind of evidence to show that their inner Self sukma has awoken, they have merged with the divine intent, and hence, they are able to see the future and past in the present from the higher perspective of eternity.
Any such claim would simply be regarded as a case of ego inflation in Java, and attributed to incorrect use or deliberate abuse of spiritual practices. Rather it is the divine cosmic self tiyang that achieves mastery over the finite personality wong and manifests itself in this way, though perhaps with the conscious consent of the person concerned.
Note also that I am departing somewhat from Javanese tradition, according to which it is futile to try and express such experiences in mere words, and which, for that reason, prioritizes practical spiritual instruction instead.
Similar beliefs and practices may be found in some esoteric or New Age circles in the West, but a very profound difference is that in Javanese society mystics enjoy great respect and significant political influence. During my research on religious change in Java, I was surprised to discover that, during their candidature, both President Wahid and Megawati had visited sacred sites associated with the Jayabaya prophecy, such as the Loka Moksa Jayabaya in the village of Pamenang, Kediri. In doing so, they were following a tradition begun by the first president, Sukarno, or perhaps earlier.
In other words, they are able to access the same source from which Jayabaya drew his knowledge of the future in the first place. These contemporary Javanese masters of the spirit world are responsible not only for reinterpreting but also for implementing the prophecy, and thus they are believed to have the power to decide who will become the next president. Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia such a spiritual master utters is therefore expected to become true, whether it be a curse or a blessing.
This is a matter not so much of having personal power but of their being in alignment with the divine, dynamic power of the macrocosm. This happened at a sacred site on a southern beach near the town of Baron, where the last king of the empire of Majapahit Brawijaya v is believed to have laid down his crown and achieved moksa.
To commemorate this receiving of the divine power to rule, the two presidents later built monuments at this site, showing their gratitude following their subsequent election. In any case, further evidence of this link between mystics, prophecies and politics can be found in a number of local Indonesian publications e.
The Problem of Time: Modernist Rationalism and the Alternative Logic of Javanese Utopianism The political application of prophetic utopianism in Java is interesting as a social practice that has few parallels in contemporary Western societies. I say few rather than none, because there are some notable exceptions.
One is the prophecy of Fatima, which has had significant political impact, inspiring the Vatican to under- take covert political action in Poland and beyond that contributed to the fall of the Soviet empire and the end of the Cold War.
Another pertinent example is the dispensationalists interpretation of the biblical prophecy of Armageddon and the second coming of Christ, which can be traced back to the 17th century at least Watson, and continues to be of great importance to Christian Zionists in the contemporary usa. The latter have had significant influence on the us government and its policies, especially under Presidents Carter and G.
For example, they have lent their support to the Israeli occupation of Palestine because accor- ding to their interpretation one of the preconditions for the second coming is that Jerusalem be returned to the Jews in its entirety. Dystopian and utopian ideas thus can have practical political implications, in Java and elsewhere around the world.
How can we explain this? Gradually, the materialist rationalism of science and capitalism have provided us with such a powerful description of the world as it is, that any alternative ideas other cultures may entertain about the nature of reality are routinely dismissed as a false proposition; as a mere belief. Among many other things, this conservative attitude fails to consider that the prophetic imagination helps us to change the world and shape the future precisely because it is independent of objective facts.
As Castoriadis has observed, the imaginary is as important as our awareness of the manifestly real when it comes to providing us with the motivation for engaging in action and social change. This is why utopianism continues to have broad appeal even in the most modernist societies.
We find it particularly difficult to question and challenge the experience of the hyper-real through new, active imaginings because this hyper-reality is so heavily promoted and pressed upon us within a public space dominated by electronic media. For example, we are still being distracted from paying heed to the deteriorating material conditions of modern life by the widespread denial in the media of growing scientific evidence of an impending environmental disaster.
Utopianism as Political Practice in Indonesia from creatively imagining alternative, utopian future realities. In the Javanese prophetic utopian literature the present, modern condition is not a hyper-reality that can no longer be questioned or examined. The modern condition is instead critiqued as a reversal of the natural order of things and as a state of madness. Now despondency and fatalism are the norm, say the prophecies, and those who ask questions and seek to maintain virtue are scorned or persecuted.
White about the legend of King Arthur. It is often assigned reading in English literature classes and is composed of five books:. While the first four were originally published separately, and reworked for inclusion in The Once and Future King , the last was to be published in the greater work for the first time.
This was vetoed by White's publisher, supposedly due to wartime paper restrictions. It wasn't until after White's death that The Book of Merlyn joined the other four. From Wikibooks, open books for an open world. It is often assigned reading in English literature classes and is composed of five books: Retrieved from " https: The Once and Future King Shelf: Fantasy literature Shelf: