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H.B. Jassin


Born Gorontalo (Jul 31, 1917) Died Jakarta (Mar 11, 2000)

Hans Bague Jassin, better known as HB Jassin, was a literary critic, documentarian, and professor. Born in Gorontalo to a bibliophilic petroleum company employee, Jassin began reading while still in elementary school, later writing published reviews before finishing high school. After a while working in the Gorontalo regent’s office, he moved to Jakarta where he worked at the state publisher Balai Pustaka. After leaving the publisher, he attended the University of Indonesia and later Yale. Returning to Indonesia to be a teacher, he also headed Sastra magazine. Horison, a literary magazine, was started in July 1966 by Jassin and Mochtar Lubis as a successor to Sastra, and was edited by Taufiq Ismail, Ds. Muljanto, Zaini, Su Hok Djin, and Goenawan Mohamad. In 1971, Jassin was given a one-year prison sentence and a two-year probation period because as the editor of Sastra, he refused to reveal the identity of an anonymous writer who wrote a story which was considered by the court to be blasphemous.

After his release, he founded HB Jassin Literary Documentation Center, using it to document Indonesian literature. After suffering six strokes towards the end of his life, Jassin died on 11 March 2000 and was buried in the Kalibata Heroes Cemetery. During his life Jassin was highly recognized for his work, acquiring the nickname “The Pope of Indonesian Literature” and receiving numerous awards.

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