Author

Jacob Haafner

In the late eighteenth century Jacob Haafner travelled to India and Ceylon. He fell in love with the East and learned several of the local languages. In his account, published after his return in 1787, Haafner denounced the rapacity and barbarity of the Dutch and British in their dealings with the natives and with the slaves. His Travels in a Palanquin is an outstanding work of Dutch romantic literature. He tells of a thousand-kilometre voyage he made in 1786 along the east coast of India, from Calcutta to Negapatnam, in a palanquin (a luxurious sedan chair), ingeniously interweaving his observations with the tale of his love for a young, beautiful Indian dancer called Mamia and her heartrending death.

Travels in a Palanquin

Travels in a Palanquin

( 1808, 254 pages)

In the seventeenth century, their Golden Age, the Dutch excelled at painting, innovative business enterprise and adventurous sea travel, voyaging to Africa, Asia, and North and South America. They came upon the Chinese and Japanese, Persians and Javanese, Indians, Khoikhois, Inuit, Papuans, Easter Islanders and Tierra del Fuegians, for whom it was often their first contact with Europeans. Dozens of Dutch seamen, merchants, administrators and military men wrote reports of their travels and encounters, creating a literary genre that became extraordinarily popular in the Netherlands. Sober yet entertaining, their books offered an irresistible combination of adventure, drama and observation.…

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