Soul Catcher: Java's Fiery Prince Mangkunagara I, 1726-1795
M.C. Ricklefs (Author)
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DescriptionMangkunagara I (1726-95) was one of the most flamboyant figures of 18th-century Java.
A charismatic rebel from 1740 to 1757 and one of the foremost military commanders of his age, he won the loyalty of many followers. He was also a devout Muslim of the Mystic Synthesis style, a devotee of Javanese culture and a lover of beautiful women and Dutch gin. His enemies - the Surakarta court, his uncle the rebel and later Sultan Mangkubumi of Yogyakarta and the Dutch East India Company - were unable to subdue him, even when they united against him.
In 1757, he settled as a semi-independent prince in Surakarta, pursuing his objective of as much independence as possible by means other than war, a frustrating time for a man who was a fighter to his fingertips. Professor Ricklefs here employs an extraordinary range of sources in Dutch and Javanese - among them Mangkunagara I's voluminous autobiographical account of his years at war, the earliest autobiography in Javanese so far known - to bring this important figure to life. As he does so, our understanding of Java's devastating civil war of the mid-18th century is transformed and much light is shed on Islam and culture in Java.
30 July 2018
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