Children’s Games, Adults’ Gambits studies how childhood was depicted by writers of note in Bengal, some of whom also wrote for children.
Late-eighteenth century and early nineteenth-century Bengali fiction for children was influenced by the reality of colonial India. Bengal saw the opening up of the metropolitan space of the West, and the Bengali literate elite re-oriented their understanding of the world and of themselves in relation to these new Western spaces through books and textbooks that included depictions of new lands.
Childhood thus became the foundation for building the new understanding of the world and the self. This book also traces how this programme was gendered, and how these stories generally catered to an upper-caste male world and created a privileged space for boys. When the space was opened up to girls, they were always fit into the mould of either the chaste wife or the frightening goddess.
This insightful study on the works of the icons of Bengali elite culture—such as Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore, Saratchandra Chattopadhyay and Satyajit Ray—brings postcolonial critical literature into contact with feminist discourse.
List of Images
1. Rammohun Roy and Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar
Fact, Fiction, Fantasy and the Lie of the Land
2. Connections and Communications
.Adult Links to Schooling and Geography
3. Interrogating Fixities in Gender Binaries
4. Masculine Locations through Masculine Optics in Colonial Bengal
5. Growing Spaces
Politics of the Gap
6. Not Out of the Blue
The Inconclusive Conclusion
Anindita Mukhopadhyay is Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Hyderabad.