SILPAKORN UNIVERSITY JOURNAL OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, HUMANITIES, AND ARTS, Vol 15, No 1 (2015)

King Rama V’s Travelogues: The Distribution of Modern Knowledge

Anchalee Pupaka

Mahidol University


Abstract


The idea of foreign nations has been introduced in Thai literature since a long time ago.
However, the information presented in the past was mostly irrelevant. In the past, Siam was believed to be the center of the world. Foreigners were inferior to Thai people. Especially in the early Rattanakosin era, western nations were described as completely strange. However, the information about foreigners in King Rama V’s writings is different from any other works of the same era. In his works, Siam is not the center of the world. All details and information are described matter-of-factly with careful analysis and study. In the books, King Rama V points out the connection between new knowledge and the country’s status, as well as suggests the ways to make use of the knowledge from other nations to develop Siam to become compatible with them.
During the critical time when stability was crucial for the survival of the country, King Rama V emphasized on educating his people and providing them with knowledge that they needed to learn. Not only the formal education system, his writings became another important tool the king used to distribute modern knowledge to the reader.

Keywords: King Rama V, modern Knowledge, Literature

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