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Sunday April 30th 2017

A Tale of Volcanoes

Literature | Friday, 17 December 2010 | sundanesecorner.org

Hawé Setiawan

Adjat Sudradjat (photograph: Hawe Setiawan/Sundanese Corner)

On Tuesday, 14 December 2010, I hosted a discussion on a new book in Sundanese by geologist Adjat Sudradjat at Padjajaran University campus, in Bandung. Before some people who visited a book fair that has been organised for this week, the author, along with geographer T. Bachtiar and poet Etti R.S., talked about his work. The book is about volcanoes in West Java entitled Didodoho Lahar: Lalakon Galunggung Bitu (Threaten by Lava: a Tale of Mount Galunggung Eruption).

Adjat was born in Tasikmalaya, West Java, on 14 January 1942. His birthplace is at the foot of Mount Galunggung. He studied geology at Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB). He then undertook a research in geology in the Netherlands. His doctoral degree on the subject was gained at ITB in 1982. In 1997 he admitted his professoriate at Padjadjaran University. He was a visiting professor at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Universitéit Utrecht, Durham University, and Tokyo University. He writes some books concerning the subject. Didodoho Lahar marks his debut in Sundanese authorship.

‘My aims in writing about the story of Mount Galunggung eruption have been but, firstly, to present the uniqueness of mountain in Sunda Land, secondly, to express my regard for the bountifulness of Sundanese tales or legends that have something to do with mountain. Furthermore, I would like to put forward my understanding of volcanoes that might be valuable for my fellow readers of this book in flourishing their understanding and knowledge concerning volcanoes,’ Adjat stated in his introduction to the book.

This book is not only about Mount Galunggung, which erupted in 1894, 1918, and 1982, but also about other mountain in West Java.

What makes this book interesting is the way through which the author describes his subject matter. As a scientist and explorer, Adjat tries to shed lights on the details of volcanoes just like a short story writer composes his story. By means of plain Sundanese, while preventing himself from some technical jargons, Adjat has apparently successful in writing a book that is quite readable for everyone.

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