This research attempts to revisit literary works by Abdullah bin Abdul Kadir Munsyi (1797-1854), a prominent 19th century thinker and writer in the Malay world. Abdullah was employed by many European colonial officers, Christian missionaries, scholars and traders etc as their Malay language tutor and scribe and he established strong relationship with them. He recorded or wrote about some of these personalities in his writings, and some of these Europeans/westerners had written or commented about him in their journals and publications.
This study intends to find out about Abdullah’s relationship with some British, Dutch and French individuals and how they had influenced and impacted on his thinking and writing, and on development of Malay/Indonesian literature in general. For his British connection, besides Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), William Farquhar (1774-1839), Governor W.J.Butterworth, Abdullah was very closed to Missionary William Milne (1785-1822), Reverend Claudius Henry Thomsen; Reverend B.P.Keassberry (1811-1875), all were from London Missionary Society (LMS). He also established relationaship with Edouard Dulaurier, the first French scholar on Malay studies who translated his travel journal to Kelantan, Malaysia, Kisah Pelayaran Abdullah in 1850. Abdullah’s works also attracted several Dutch scholars such as H.C.Klinkert, who later translated and published his travel journal to Mekah, in 1867. Some of Abdullah’s manuscripts and early printed works are kept at various libraries in Europe through his contacts and collaborative efforts of these Europeans.
This study is in search of Abdullah’s surviving legacy in Europe by adopting a multidisciplinary approaches, combining studies on language, literature, history, politics and culture of South East Asia and 19th century Western colonial history.