In "After Empire" Michael Gorra explores how three novelists of empireOCoPaul Scott, V. S. Naipaul, and Salman RushdieOCohave charted the perpetually drawn and perpetually blurred boundaries of identity left in the wake of British imperialism. Arguing against a model of cultural identity based on race, Gorra begins with Scott''s portrait, in "The Raj Quartet," of the character Hari KumarOCoa seeming oxymoron, an English boy with a dark brown skin, whose very existence undercuts the belief in an absolute distinction between England and India. He then turns to the opposed figures of Naipaul and Rushdie, the two great novelists of the Indian diaspora. Whereas Naipaul''s long and controversial career maps the deep disorder spread by both imperialism and its passing, Rushdie demonstrates that certain consequences of that disorder, such as migrancy and mimicry, have themselves become creative forces. "After Empire" provides engaging and enlightening readings of postcolonial fiction, showing how imperialism helped shape British national identityOCoand how, after the end of empire, that identity must now be reconfigured. "
Amitav Ghosh is an authoritative critical introduction to the fictional and non-fictional writings of one of the most celebrated and significant literary voices to have emerged from India in recent decades. It is the first full-length study of Amitav Ghosh's work to be available outside India.Encompassing all of Ghosh's fictional and non-fictional writings to date, this book takes a thematic approach which enables in-depth analysis of the cluster of themes, ideas and issues that Ghosh has steadily built up into a substantial intellectual project. This project overlaps significantly with many of the key debates in postcolonial studies making this book both an introduction to Ghosh's writing and a contribution to the development of ideas on the 'postcolonial', in particular, its relation to postmodernism.Aimed at students and the general reader, this book is an ideal introduction to one of contemporary literature's most fascinating writers.
In Beyond Partition, Deepti Misri shows how 1947 marked the beginning of a history of politicized animosity associated with the differing ideas of "India" held by communities and in regions on one hand, and by the political-military Indian state on the other. Assembling literary, historiographic, performative, and visual representations of gendered violence against men and women, she establishes that cultural expressions do not just follow violence but determine its very contours, and interrogates the gendered scripts underwriting the violence originating in the contested visions of what "India" means. Ambitious and ranging across disciplines, Beyond Partition offers both an overview of and nuanced new perspectives on the ways caste, identity, and class complicate representations of violence, and how such representations shape our understandings of both violence and of India.
English Heart, Hindi Heartland examines Delhi's postcolonial literary world--its institutions, prizes, publishers, writers, and translators, and the cultural geographies of key neighborhoods--in light of colonial histories and the globalization of English. Rashmi Sadana places internationally recognized authors such as Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Vikram Seth, and Aravind Adiga in the context of debates within India about the politics of language and alongside other writers, including K. Satchidanandan, Shashi Deshpande, and Geetanjali Shree. Sadana undertakes an ethnographic study of literary culture that probes the connections between place, language, and text in order to show what language comes to stand for in people's lives. In so doing, she unmasks a social discourse rife with questions of authenticity and cultural politics of inclusion and exclusion. English Heart, Hindi Heartland illustrates how the notion of what is considered to be culturally and linguistically authentic not only obscures larger questions relating to caste, religious, and gender identities, but that the authenticity discourse itself is continually in flux. In order to mediate and extract cultural capital from India's complex linguistic hierarchies, literary practitioners strategically deploy a fluid set of cultural and political distinctions that Sadana calls "literary nationality." Sadana argues that English, and the way it is positioned among the other Indian languages, does not represent a fixed pole, but rather serves to change political and literary alliances among classes and castes, often in surprising ways.
This is the first collection of international scholarship on the fiction of Amitav Ghosh. Ghosh’s work is read by a wide audience and is well regarded by general readers, critics, and scholars throughout the world. Born in India, Ghosh has lived in India, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His work spans genres from contemporary realism to historical fiction to science fiction, but has consistently dealt with the dislocations, violence, and meetings of peoples and cultures engendered by colonialism.The essays in this volume analyze Ghosh’s novels in ways that yield new insights into concepts central to postcolonial and transnational studies, making important intertextual connections and foregrounding links to prevailing theoretical and speculative scholarship. The work’s introduction argues that irony is central to Ghosh’s vision and discusses the importance of the concepts of “testimony” and “history” to Ghosh’s narratives. An invaluable interview with Amitav Ghosh discusses individual works and the author’s overall philosophy.
Many non-Indian readers find the historical and cultural references in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children demanding. In his close reading of the novel, Neil ten Kortenaar offers post-colonial literary strategies for understanding Midnight's Children that also challenge some of the prevailing interpretations of the novel. Using hybridity, mimicry, national allegory, and cosmopolitanism, all key critical concepts of postcolonial theory, ten Kortenaar reads Midnight's Children as an allegory of history, as a Bildungsroman and psychological study of a burgeoning national consciousness, and as a representation of the nation. He shows that the hybridity of Rushdie's fictional India is not created by different elements forming a whole but by the relationship among them. Self, Nation, Text in Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children also makes an original argument about how nation-states are imagined and how national consciousness is formed in the citizen. The protagonist, Saleem Sinai, heroically identifies himself with the state, but this identification is beaten out of him until, in the end, he sees himself as the Common Man at the mercy of the state. Ten Kortenaar reveals Rushdie's India to be more self-conscious than many communal identities based on language: it is an India haunted by a dark twin called Pakistan; a nation in the way England is a nation but imagined against England. Mistrusting the openness of Tagore's Hindu India, it is both cosmopolitan and a specific subjective location.
In this thoughtful volume Rituparna Roy explores a significant cross-section of fiction about the partition of British India in 1947 on the eve of the Empire’s dissolution and the subsequent succession of Bangladesh from Pakistan in 1971. The six novels selected for study—Train to Pakistan, A Bend in the Ganges, Ice-Candy-Man, Clear Light of Day, Midnight’s Children, and The Shadow Lines—follow a trajectory from primarily reporting the cataclysmic events to theorizing about them. Drawing from a wealth of historical material, Roy offers a sensitive analysis of these major literary works on the theme of partition.
In Stranger Gods Roger Clark offers an ambitious and wide-ranging study of Salman Rushdie's seven published novels, with a special focus on his earliest, Grimus, and his most powerful and provocative, Midnight's Children, Shame, and The Satanic Verses. Clark shows how Rushdie employs cosmology, mythology, and mysticism to structure otherworldly dramas that are fascinating in their own right, as well as crucial to the more worldly points Rushdie makes about literary tradition, history, ethnicity, and the politics of religion. Clark's exploration of Rushdie's novels works on at least three levels. First, he clarifies and interprets Rushdie's often puzzling references to figures such as Loki and Shiva, settings such as the mountain of Kaf and Kailasa, and experiences such as the annihilation of the self and the temptations of the Muslim Devil, Iblis.