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Rewriting India (Eight Writers)
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Rewriting India (Eight Writers)
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About the Author

Bruce King, and American-born writer, editor, and literary critic, lives in Paris after teaching at universities in the United States, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Israel, and Nigeria. A specialist in seventeenth-century English literature and modern poetry, he is also a prominent early scholar of postcolonial literatures.

He has written Robert Graves: A Biography (2008), the Internationalization of English Literature, 1948-2000 (vol. 13 of the Oxford English Literary History, 2004), Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life (2000), Derek Walcott and West Indian Drama (1995), V.S. Naipaul (1993; revised edition in 2003), three Indian Poets: Nissim Ezekiel, Dom Moraes, A.K. Ramanujan (1991; revised edition in 2005), Coriolanus (1989), Modern Indian Poetry in English (1987; revised edition in 2001), History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature (1982), The New English Literatures: Cultural Nationalism in a Changing World (1980), Marvell’s Allegorical Poetry (1977), and Dryden’s Major lays (1966).

The books he has edited include New National and Post-Colonial Literatures: An Introduction (1996), The later Fiction of Nadine Gordimer (1993), Post-colonial English Drama: Commonwealth Drama since 1960(1992), Contemporary American Theatre (1991), The Commonwealth Novel since 1960 (1991), West Indian Literature (1979; revised edition in 1995), Introduction to Nigerian Literature (1974), and Dryden’s Mind and Art (1969). He is series editor of English Dramatists

Preface

This book is mainly about eight writers who interest me and who I think are culturally and historically significan-Arun Kolatkar, K.N. Daruwalla, Amit Chaudhuri, Pankaj Mishra, Upamanyu Chatterjee, tabish Khair, Susan Visvanathan, and Jeet Thayil. Other writers discussed include V.S. Naipaul, Agha Shahid Ali, Nissim Ezekie, Kiran Desai, Aravind Adiga, Anupama Chandrasekar, Anjum Hsasan, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

I examine writings of these eight authors after discussing what was unique about the modern Indian poets in English and their relationship to late prose writers. Although I often refer to contradictions between the nationalist ideal of India and late realities, that is incidental and not my main concern; my interests are literary rather than political and sociological. During the course of the book a history of modern Indian writing will be suggested as will ideas about how postcolonialism has gone off the tracks in seeking a history of opposition rather than understanding how writers take on varied influences and are part of their time, but these suggestions come from the writings, not from an attempt to prove a theory. When we were younger a now-famous poet told me that I liked literature too be a literary critic; while my writing is now purpose fully drier I hope that the enjoyment still shows through.

Rewriting India can be seen as a continuation of two of my previous books, modern Indian Poetry in English and Three Indian Poets. After their second editions I began thinking about this book, but other publications intervened. Parts of chapters have already appeared in print as reviews or essays in The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Wasafiri, Biblio, and American Book Review. An earlier version of the chapter on Daruwalla was written as a Fellow at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center. While I especially want to thank Janet Wilson and Sue Reid for allowing me reviewing space in The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, my intellectual debts are mainly to the writers I discuss, especially Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Amit Chaudhuri, for insights discovered in their published interviews an articles, during personal conversations, and in e-mail exchanged, as usual my greatest debt is to my wife Adele King to whom this book is dedicated.

Contents

Prefacevii
1ReWriting India1
2Arun Kolatkar: The Art of Seeing28
3K. N. Daruwalla: Parsi Outsider to Man of the World56
4Amit Chaudhuri: Places and Spaces84
5Pankaj Mishra: Traveller108
6Upamanyu Chatterjee: Bengali Brahmins134
7Tabish Khair: Bihar to Aarhus158
8Ausan Visvanathan: Feminist Socialogist184
9Jeet Thayil: Cosmopolitan210
10Coda: A Million Indias Now/Life Is Here239
Notes255
Bibliography260
Index271
About the Author279
Sample Pages

















Rewriting India (Eight Writers)

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About the Author

Bruce King, and American-born writer, editor, and literary critic, lives in Paris after teaching at universities in the United States, Canada, England, France, New Zealand, Israel, and Nigeria. A specialist in seventeenth-century English literature and modern poetry, he is also a prominent early scholar of postcolonial literatures.

He has written Robert Graves: A Biography (2008), the Internationalization of English Literature, 1948-2000 (vol. 13 of the Oxford English Literary History, 2004), Derek Walcott: A Caribbean Life (2000), Derek Walcott and West Indian Drama (1995), V.S. Naipaul (1993; revised edition in 2003), three Indian Poets: Nissim Ezekiel, Dom Moraes, A.K. Ramanujan (1991; revised edition in 2005), Coriolanus (1989), Modern Indian Poetry in English (1987; revised edition in 2001), History of Seventeenth-Century English Literature (1982), The New English Literatures: Cultural Nationalism in a Changing World (1980), Marvell’s Allegorical Poetry (1977), and Dryden’s Major lays (1966).

The books he has edited include New National and Post-Colonial Literatures: An Introduction (1996), The later Fiction of Nadine Gordimer (1993), Post-colonial English Drama: Commonwealth Drama since 1960(1992), Contemporary American Theatre (1991), The Commonwealth Novel since 1960 (1991), West Indian Literature (1979; revised edition in 1995), Introduction to Nigerian Literature (1974), and Dryden’s Mind and Art (1969). He is series editor of English Dramatists

Preface

This book is mainly about eight writers who interest me and who I think are culturally and historically significan-Arun Kolatkar, K.N. Daruwalla, Amit Chaudhuri, Pankaj Mishra, Upamanyu Chatterjee, tabish Khair, Susan Visvanathan, and Jeet Thayil. Other writers discussed include V.S. Naipaul, Agha Shahid Ali, Nissim Ezekie, Kiran Desai, Aravind Adiga, Anupama Chandrasekar, Anjum Hsasan, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

I examine writings of these eight authors after discussing what was unique about the modern Indian poets in English and their relationship to late prose writers. Although I often refer to contradictions between the nationalist ideal of India and late realities, that is incidental and not my main concern; my interests are literary rather than political and sociological. During the course of the book a history of modern Indian writing will be suggested as will ideas about how postcolonialism has gone off the tracks in seeking a history of opposition rather than understanding how writers take on varied influences and are part of their time, but these suggestions come from the writings, not from an attempt to prove a theory. When we were younger a now-famous poet told me that I liked literature too be a literary critic; while my writing is now purpose fully drier I hope that the enjoyment still shows through.

Rewriting India can be seen as a continuation of two of my previous books, modern Indian Poetry in English and Three Indian Poets. After their second editions I began thinking about this book, but other publications intervened. Parts of chapters have already appeared in print as reviews or essays in The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Wasafiri, Biblio, and American Book Review. An earlier version of the chapter on Daruwalla was written as a Fellow at the Rockefeller Bellagio Center. While I especially want to thank Janet Wilson and Sue Reid for allowing me reviewing space in The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, my intellectual debts are mainly to the writers I discuss, especially Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Amit Chaudhuri, for insights discovered in their published interviews an articles, during personal conversations, and in e-mail exchanged, as usual my greatest debt is to my wife Adele King to whom this book is dedicated.

Contents

Prefacevii
1ReWriting India1
2Arun Kolatkar: The Art of Seeing28
3K. N. Daruwalla: Parsi Outsider to Man of the World56
4Amit Chaudhuri: Places and Spaces84
5Pankaj Mishra: Traveller108
6Upamanyu Chatterjee: Bengali Brahmins134
7Tabish Khair: Bihar to Aarhus158
8Ausan Visvanathan: Feminist Socialogist184
9Jeet Thayil: Cosmopolitan210
10Coda: A Million Indias Now/Life Is Here239
Notes255
Bibliography260
Index271
About the Author279
Sample Pages

















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