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Women and Modernity: Reading the Femme Fatale in Early Twentieth-Century Indies Novels

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Abstract

This article discusses one major trend among novels of early twentieth-century Indonesia, that is stories of the tragic femme fatale. A close examination of one such novel, Tan Boen Kim’s Riboet or the Venomous Flower, and others like it reveals a curious thematic pattern in which women are cautioned against embracing new practices and ways of life such as obtaining education and taking up a profession. This article argues that these novels reflect a certain social symptom as they convey profound critiques of women in the age of modernity.

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Indonesia

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Vol. 92

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Page range: 157-182

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2011-10

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Cornell University Southeast Asia Program

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