M2: Unit 2: Chapter 8 – Q8.1 Answer

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Nahuijs stresses the book’s political relevance throughout his preface. The parallel with Uncle Tom’s Cabin underscores this view and Multatuli’s personal suffering for the cause. English readers can learn from the Max Havelaar because they can appreciate the similarities between the Dutch and the British empires.

Bearing this interpretation in mind, we can understand Nahuijs’s desire to focus on the main story line. The part set in Amsterdam is only the run-up to the episodes set in the Indies. Nahuijs is not greatly interested in the particular Dutch setting of the first part, or on the detail of Drystubble’s character or language.

There is a good match between the way Nahuijs describes the Max Havelaar and the way he translates it. He wants to get the book’s message across.