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  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: October 2015

Preface to the revised edition


The first edition of this book (entitled Khubilai Khan and the Beautiful Princess of Tumapel: The Mongols Between History and Literature in Java) was written and published under a number of constraints. A deadline for publishing that gave me seven months to finish it, technical difficulties that led me to eliminate all diacritics except umlaut and acute accent, and most of all an inadequate knowledge of Chinese and no knowledge of Javanese, Balinese or Sundanese. In this revised edition the diacritics remain absent except in Stuart Robson's essay as it would have entailed an enormous labor to track down all the original materials to identify where and what diacritics had been used, and my knowledge of the relevant languages has advanced only slightly: I am still indebted to translators and their translations. And that, I have come to realize, is a far greater problem than I had previously imagined.

A number of important publications have appeared in the years since 2002, including Heng's monograph on Sino-Malay trade and Yamaguchi's paper on Wolio genealogies. In addition to new publications, I have continued my search for relevant materials of older vintage, and this new edition not only makes use of Gaubil's Histoire de Gentchiscan… and Robson's translation of the Desawarnana, both works that I was unable to obtain in 2002, but also Robson (1979, 2000), Schurmann (1956), Mills and Ptak's translation of Fei Xin's Hsing-ch'a sheng-lan, Damais (1958), Reid (1996), Gonda (1976) and others.

One of the most important discoveries I made in the years since the book's first publication was the work of the Oxford philosopher and linguist Roy Harris, especially his 2004 monograph The Linguistics of History and the more recent After Epistemology (2009). The Linguistics of History raised many questions about the writing and understanding of history, not the least of which is the role of translation, not only accross languages, but also across cultures, times and spaces.

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Of Palm Wine, Women and War
  • Online ISBN: 9789814517836
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