Dutch author Eduard Douwes Dekker (a.k.a. Multatuli) was born in 1820. He spent eighteen years of civil service in the Dutch East Indies, during which time he held jobs as clerk at the General Auditor's Office, Controller in Natal, secretary to the assistant-resident at Krawang, secretary of the residence of Menado (Celebes), assistant-resident of Ambon, and assistant-resident of Lebak (Bantam, Java). During these years, however, he was also a prolific writer. Between the years of 1841 and 1845 he wrote Losse bladen uit het dagboek van een oude man (Loose Pages from an Old Man's Diary). After converting to Roman Catholicism due to his unrequited love for Caroline Versteegh, he began working in 1843 on the play De Eerloze (The Dishonoured), which was later published as De bruid daarboven (The Bride Up There) (1864). He experienced extreme poverty in 1844 after his suspension from his post in the General Auditor's office for a July deficit, and spent this time in Batavia with his native love Si Oepeh Keteh. He married Tine (Everdina Huberta baroness of Wijnbergen) in 1846 and his first child, Edu, was born in 1854. After a conflict in Lebak with resident Brest van Kempen in 1856 over the handling of the natives, he transferred to Ngawi, but resigned after governor-general Duymaer van Twist refused to see him. He was honorably discharged in April of the same year.
Dekker's daughter Nonnie was born in 1857, but at this time he had already left for Europe without his wife or son, where he roamed the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and France. Still disgusted by the way the Dutch were treating the colonized, his writings after this time inspired various emancipatory movements. After the return of his wife and children to Europe in 1859 he published his most famous novel, Max Havelaar, in 1860. This novel, which made him an instant success, was a record of his experiences in the Dutch East Indies. The year 1861 saw the publication of Over vrijen arbeid in Nederlandsch Indië (On Free Labour in the Dutch Indies), Wijs mij de plaats waar ik gezaaid heb (Show Me the Place Where I Sowed) and Minnebrieven (Love Letters). At an 1864 international colonial congress in Amsterdam, he launched a fierce attack against the Dutch government. He also spent much of this year in Germany with his mistress, Mimi Hamminck Schepel. The second volume of Ide�n and De zegen Gods door Waterloo (God's Blessing through Waterloo) were published in 1865. Een en ander naar aanleiding van Bosscha's Pruisen en Nederland (Some reflections in reply to Bosscha's 'Prussia and the Netherlands'), Nog eens: Vrye arbeid in Nederlandsch Indië (Once again: Free Labour in the Dutch Indies), and Duizend-en-eenige hoofdstukken over specialiteiten (Thousand and one chapters about specialties), were published in 1867, 1870, and 1871, respectively. From 1871 to 1877 Dekker worked on the third to seventh volumes of Ideën. During this time he also wrote Millioenenstudiën (Millionaire Studies) and the play Vorstenschool (School for Kings) as Idea 930 in the fourth volume of Ideën. After his wife's death in 1874, he married his mistress in 1875. In 1877 he vowed to give up writing, a promise that he kept to his death a decade later.