Originally Posted by A. G. Maisey
Regarding Wolfgang Spielman's doctoral thesis.
This has been reviewed and mentioned in David van Duuren's bibliography.
My understanding of this review is that Dr. Spielman has provided a comprehensive, scientific and tightly organised over-view of the keris, which Dr. van Duuren rates as "---deserves to be included with the best general inroductions to the Javanese keris---"
Dr. van Duuren goes on to say:- "--- the author does not develop a personal viewpoint;rather, the value of his work lies in the way it ties facts into fiction and vice versa.---"
Wolfgang Spielman's work is a good general introduction which incorporates information to be found in other already published works.
There is nothing new in his work. As I was told by one very highly respected student of the keris who has German as his second language:- "you will not find anything in this work that has not already been treated elsewhere."
In other words, nothing new, but the content is very well presented.
Alan G. Maisey:
Literature - we had this theme already. To Spielmann's thesis:
1. It is no doctaral thesis - it is an MA-Thesis and it is also mentioned in the Encyklopedi and other scientific written works.
2. Literature and new ideas is always to be seen when the book or paper was written or published and in context with the knowledge standard at that time. Spielmann's thesis was researched in the mid until the end 80's and by that time the literature situation was different - Harsrinuksmo's 1st edition of the Enciklopadi was not yet published. There was Solyom, Frey and the other essays. Double sided copies in copy-shops were not yet possible.
3. The aim behind this work was for the first part to give an introduction "what is a keris". If by that time somebody would visit a n ethnographic museum and would have seen a keris and then later would search literatur to know "what is a keris?, he would not find any systematic book which explains it. So the first half or two third are systematic organisations of collected information of articels etc.
4. The last 3rd part handles with theoretical conceptes - already difficult for many german native speekers to read and understand and I really doubt that your "highly respected student of the keris with German as his second
language" is able to understand the text - or, he didn't read it because to difficlt.
5. The book was never published in another language but interesting is for somebody who goes to Leiden in Holland - there you will find the original book and not just the small paperback - a bit different, but if somebody looks for new informations I only see one possibility - go yourself to Jawa and other places and research! Or pay for it, that somebody does the researches! We had this theme already.
Facit: No new informations but an excellent sample how serious literature should be written. Every statement you can proof via citates. I whised somebody nowadays would create such a serious book, than all this for me boaring picture books with many not proofable statements. Kerner is the best example how literature not should be written. (Besides - I didn't forget you and the statistic of Kerner - give me some time please).