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Jacob Haafner (1754-1809)

This part of my website is devoted to Jacob Gottfried Haafner (Halle, 1754 - Amsterdam, 1809). Haafner lived in India and Sri Lanka for more than thirteen years (1773-1786). He wrote five travel accounts in Dutch about his stay there. His direct literary style and his adventurous life blended to make his books very popular in his day and his works remain appealing for the contemporary reader.

His description of everyday life bears witness to his sharp powers of observation and love of the indigenous cultures. These qualities prompted Haafner to wax highly critical of the colonial conditions existing then. From a historical and literary perspective the works of Jacob Haafner are a monument to Dutch travel story writing and autobiography. His works were translated into German, English, French, Danish, and Swedish and are widely appreciated.

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If you have any questions do not hesitate to mail Haafner@paulvandervelde.nl.