The Nation of India in Contemporary Indian Literature
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This book investigates representations of the nation of India as characterized by unity and diversity in the works of six contemporary novelists, linking their work to important political, historical and theoretical writings.
This book discusses selected works by six contemporary Indian novelists writing in English – Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Nayantara Sahgal, Arundhati Roy, Ruchir Joshi and Rupa Bajwa – all of whom have made the Indian nation a central theme in their fiction. All these writers respond, in varying ways, to the idea of India as united in diversity, a construct most readily associated with the nationalist vision of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister. In considering India’s past and looking towards the future, they struggle with and attempt to extend the available language of cultural diversity.
Anna Guttman is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Lakehead University, Canada, where she teaches postcolonial literature. She is also the co-editor of The Global Literary Field, forthcoming.
“Sophisticated….convincing, sometimes surprising, and forward-thinking.”–The Year’s Work in English Studies“This is a solid and intriguing book that will appeal to scholars and students in South Asian literature, postcolonial studies, and contemporary literature in general. It is an innovative and interesting notion to approach South Asian novels through the lens of a Nehruvian-inspired notion of what India should be. As Guttman argues, the questions this raises are quite lively ones in India and Pakistan today, and by analogy are significant throughout the postcolonial world. Guttman draws on important sources and offers a new ways to read individual texts by such authors as Seth, Rushdie, Sahgal, Roy, Joshi, and Bajwa.”–John Hawley, University of Santa Clara
Compromise and Contradiction in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Multicultural Indian * Nation Vikram Seth’s Real(ist) India * Parodying Nehru in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children and The Moor’s Last Sigh * All in the Family: Nayantara Sahgal’s Indian Home * Re-Examining Indian Non-Alignment: Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things * States of Dystopia: Imagining Future Indias in Ruchir Joshi’s The Last Jet-Engine Laugh * Unity in Diversity Beyond the Nation-State in Rupa Bajwa’s The Sari Shop
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