Just got a copy of the condensed translation of the Serat Centhini by Soewito Santoso and Kestity Pringgoharjono, with great photographs by Fendi Siregar (The Centhini Story: The Javanese Journey of Life, Singapore: Marshall Cavendish, 2006). The philologist in me would like to know more about how the translation was done (what text was used, the multi-volume romanised version?), and how the condensation process occurred, but from a reader's point of view it is very exciting to have the text made available to a wider audience. What is really nice about the book is that it includes photographs of the key sites, and even objects and ceremonies, discussed as the various protagonists wander over the island of Java in the wake of the fall of Demak to the kingdom of Mataram.
The text has an interesting relationship with Panji stories, not just because both are concerned with journeys, but also because the expositions of contemporary life and values is clearly meant to provide models for readers. I look forward to sitting down with this book next to the full Javanese text. It would be nice if this could also provide a precedent for publishers to sponsor translations (preferably in full) of other classics of Indonesian literature. Stuart Robson long ago talked of the need for readable versions of some of the great Kekawin in a series like the Penguin Classics.