Indigenous Imaginaries: Literature, Region, Modernity
E V Ramakrishnan
140 x 216 mm
Year of Publishing
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Orient BlackSwan

Indigenous Imaginaries argues for a redefinition of humanities from a comparative perspective anchored in the regional literary traditions of India. These indigenous traditions have negotiated hegemonic structures of power over centuries through creative engagements with differences and dogmas. The central argument here concerns the need to reconfigure epistemologies that do not accommodate the compulsions of creativity and critical reflection in a multilingual society. Translation functions throughout this volume as the telos of a dialogic, interdisciplinary mode of cognition that questions the exclusivist claims of Euro-centric formulations of the literary. It argues that the act of reading becomes an act of recovery when prescriptive protocols and absolutist dictums are subverted through an intimate involvement with the subliminal, the unwritten and the inarticulate embedded in literary texts. The book analyses the moral imaginaries that animate the works of Rabindranath Tagore, Vaikom Muhammad Basheer, Mahasweta Devi, Amitav Ghosh, Bhalchandra Nemade, Anand, M. Mukundan, N. S. Madhavan, Agha Shahid Ali and Jean Arasanayagam as evidences of revisionist ways of radical rethinking that can propel us in the direction of an interdisciplinary domain of comparative humanities. It acknowledges the emergent cosmologies of the Global South that demand a self-critical and self-reflexive idiom that questions the binaries of pre-modern/modern, modern/postmodern, ‘enlightened’ West/impoverished East, region/nation, and global/local.

E. V. Ramakrishnan is Professor Emeritus at the School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Central University of Gujarat, Gandhinagar. Among his well-known publications are Making It New: Modernism in Malayalam, Marathi and Hindi Poetry (1995), The Tree of Tongues: An Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry (edited, 1999), Locating Indian Literature: Texts, Traditions, Translations (Orient BlackSwan 2011) and Terms of Seeing: New and Selected Poems (2006).


Section 1: Configuring Contested Epistemologies: The Literary across Cultures

1. ‘Disciplining’ India: Literature, Region, Modernity

2. Beyond the Orientalist and Postcolonial Constructs: The Telos of Translation Studies from the Perspective of Comparative Indian Literature

3. Dialogics of Dissent in Indian Literature: From Bhakti Tradition to Dalit Literature

4. Globalisation, Resistance and Social Imagination: The Work of Art in the Market Place

5. Redefining the Secular and the Modern: The Politics of Identity and the Minority Discourse in Contemporary India

Section 2: Reading as Recovery: The Textual Worlding of the Singular

6. Interrogating Modernity: The Social Imaginary in Tagore’s Prose Works

7. Narrating a Community: The Secular Modern and the Discourse of Marginality in the Fictional Works of Vaikom Muhammad Basheer

8. Narratives of Memory: Representations of the Other in Postcolonial Indian Fiction

9. Writing the Region, Imagining the Nation: A Reading of Bhalchandra Nemade’s Kosla

10. Modernity, Memory and Magic Realism: Gabriel García Márquez and Malayalam Fiction

11. The Poet as Witness: Ethnicity and the Discourse of the Nation in the Poetry of Jean Arasanayagam and Agha Shahid Ali

Section 3: Colonialism to Comparatism: Translating/Historicising the Other

12. Hegemony, Ideology and the Idea of the Literary: The Emergence of Comparatism in Colonial India

13. Beyond Canons and Classrooms: Towards a Dialogic Model of Literary Historiography

14. Habitations of Resistance: Role of Translation in the Creation of a Literary Public Sphere in Kerala

15. Shifting Centres and Emerging Margins: Translation and the Shaping of Modernist Poetic Discourse in Indian Poetry

16. Shifting Paradigms of Literary Historiography: Malayalam Literary History in the New Millennium


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