Multatuli (18201887) was the pseudonym of Eduard Douwes Dekker. He was born in Amsterdam, the son of a Dutch sea captain. In 1838 he went to the Indies and joined the East Indian Civil Service. Despite being involved in various disputes with his superiors, his outstanding abilities were recognized and he rose steadily in rank. He married Everdine, Baroness van Wijnbergen, in 1846 and they had two children. Increasingly unable to accept the brutalities of colonial rule, he resigned from the service in 1856. Years of poverty followed, during which he wandered around Europe, struggling to survive by his writing and endeavoring to improve the situation of the Javanese. Max Havelaar, his powerful indictment of colonialism, was written during 1859 and caused a sensation in Holland when it was published in 1860. He spent his later years involved in political and economic polemics.
An Englishman by birth, Roy Edwards (translator; 19181980) married a Dutch-speaking wife and settled in the Low Countries in his later years. During the 1950s and 1960s he translated the works of many of the Netherlands greatest authors and was awarded the prestigious Martinus Nijhoff Prize in 1962 for his translations from the Dutch.
R. P. Meijer (introduction; 19261993) was born in the Netherlands and earned his first degree from the University of Amsterdam. For several years he taught at the University of Melbourne, and was Professor of Dutch Language and Literature at the University of London, first at Bedford College and later at University College, from 1971 until 1988. His publications include Literature of the Low Countries (1978), Dutch Grammar and Reader (with Jacob Smit, 1976) and Post-war Dutch and Flemish Poetry (1974). He was a regular reviewer for NRC Handelsblad under the pseudonym P. M. Reinders and an editor of Neerlandica extra Muros.