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Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel

by Mostafa Azizpour Shoobie (Author)
Monographs X, 182 Pages

Summary

Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel argues that select novels by Indian writers in English largely present a kind of micro-cosmopolitanism that preserves nation as a primary site for social and cultural formation while opening it up to critique. During colonial times, local cultural expression wrestled with the global as represented by the systems of empire. The ideal subject or literary work was one that could happily inhabit both ends of the center-periphery in a kind of cosmopolitan space determined by imperial metropolitan and local elite cultures. As colonies liberated themselves, new national formations had to negotiate a mix of local identity, residual colonial traits, and new forces of global power. New and more complex cosmopolitan identities had to be discovered, and writers and texts reflecting these became correspondingly more problematic to assess, as old centralisms gave way to new networks of cultural control. This book contends that novels written in the context of the postcolonial cultural politics after the successful attainment of national independence question how a nation is to be made while recognizing its relation to globalization. The strong waves of globalization enforce sociological, political, and economic values in developing countries that may not be readily acceptable in those societies.
Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel focuses on three novelists in particular: Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and Aravind Adiga, all of whom have received the prestigious Man Booker Prize for their work. Despite the varied but broadly elite cosmopolitan positions of these writers, they all depict characters working toward a cosmopolitanism from the grassroots, rather than through a top-down practice. Furthermore, these writers and their works, to varying degrees, turn a suspicious eye to the effects (cultural, economic, or otherwise) of globalization as a phenomenon that can prevent possibilities for more fluid forms of belonging and border-crossing. Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel should appeal to researchers in cultural studies interested in Indian English fiction and/or the form and function of cosmopolitanism in a rapidly globalizing postcolonial world.

Table Of Contents


Mostafa Azizpour Shoobie

Cosmopolitanism in the
Indian English Novel

New York • Bern • Berlin
Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw

About the author

Mostafa Azizpour Shoobie received his PhD in English literature from the University of Wollongong (Australia). He was the recipient of a University Postgraduate Award while completing his doctorate.

About the book

Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel argues that select novels by Indian writers in English largely present a kind of micro-cosmopolitanism that preserves nation as a primary site for social and cultural formation while opening it up to critique. During colonial times, local cultural expression wrestled with the global as represented by the systems of empire. The ideal subject or literary work was one that could happily inhabit both ends of the center-periphery in a kind of cosmopolitan space determined by imperial metropolitan and local elite cultures. As colonies liberated themselves, new national formations had to negotiate a mix of local identity, residual colonial traits, and new forces of global power. New and more complex cosmopolitan identities had to be discovered, and writers and texts reflecting these became correspondingly more problematic to assess, as old centralisms gave way to new networks of cultural control. This book contends that novels written in the context of the postcolonial cultural politics after the successful attainment of national independence question how a nation is to be made while recognizing its relation to globalization. The strong waves of globalization enforce sociological, political, and economic values in developing countries that may not be readily acceptable in those societies.

Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel focuses on three novelists in particular: Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, and Aravind Adiga, all of whom have received the prestigious Man Booker Prize for their work. Despite the varied but broadly elite cosmopolitan positions of these writers, they all depict characters working toward a cosmopolitanism from the grassroots, rather than through a top-down practice. Furthermore, these writers and their works, to varying degrees, turn a suspicious eye to the effects (cultural, economic, or otherwise) of globalization as a phenomenon that can prevent possibilities for more fluid forms of belonging and border-crossing. Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel should appeal to researchers in cultural studies interested in Indian English fiction and/or the form and function of cosmopolitanism in a rapidly globalizing postcolonial world.

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Acknowledgements

Many thanks go to Peter Lang Publishing for giving me the opportunity to publish my first book with them. I am appreciative of the comments and edits I received from Moumin Quazi. I should also like to thank Meagan Simpson, Acquisitions Editor, Liam McLean, Editorial Assistant, and Luke McCord, Production Editor, for their help during the book production.

This book is based on my doctoral thesis which I completed at the University of Wollongong, Australia in 2016 throughout a four-year journey with a rocky start, a rocky mezzo, and a rocky finish. My praises go to my incredible supervisory team: Paul Sharrad, Tony Simoes da Silva, and Michael Griffiths. Paul patiently slogged through my scribblings with unfailing engagement and provided invaluable feedback. Tony and Michael helped me sharpen my theoretical foundation and carve out a more refined approach. I can’t thank them enough and that’s a fact. I would also like to thank Geoffrey V. Davis and Deb Narayan Bandyopadhyay who were part of the examination committee and their critique improved the overall quality of the final manuscript.

Finally, in writing this book, as in all else, I am indebted to my family and in particular to my father, Dr. Aliakbar Azizpour Shoobie, who encouraged me to begin writing this book.←ix | x→ ←x | 1→

Introduction

By the end of the colonial era, the unavoidable issues of forming a national culture underlying political independence had gained attention, and many literary scholars and authors began to produce literature and theories, which aimed to reflect the experiences of colonized people before, during, and after a colonial rule. This phenomenon, often called “postcolonial literature,” touches upon numerous themes, including, for instance, national identity, subalternity, cultural imperialism, diaspora, representation and resistance, ethnicity, feminism, and the use of the English (as the language to be used to write back to the former colonizer), to name only a few. My insatiable personal interest in the topic was generated with reading Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses amidst all the aroused controversy. I found myself fascinated by the author’s masterly weaving of events through the use of magic realistic elements to question, deconstruct, and recreate identity, rootedness, and mobility in the context of an England undergoing high waves of immigration. As a consequence, I wrote my Master’s thesis with a focus on Homi K. Bhabha’s concepts of hybridity and temporality of time and space, being some of the key issues in the field of postcolonial literature.

Details

Pages
X, 182
ISBN (PDF)
9781433164682
ISBN (ePUB)
9781433164699
ISBN (MOBI)
9781433164705
ISBN (Hardcover)
9781433164675
Language
English
Publication date
2019 (October)
Published
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2019. X, 182 pp.

Biographical notes

Mostafa Azizpour Shoobie (Author)

Mostafa Azizpour Shoobie received his PhD in English literature from the University of Wollongong (Australia). He was the recipient of a University Postgraduate Award while completing his doctorate.

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Title: Cosmopolitanism in the Indian English Novel