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Clearing a Space

Reflections on India, Literature and Culture

Series:

Amit Chaudhuri

In the essays assembled in Clearing a Space, Chaudhuri draws on his own experiences to offer an acute exploration of what it means to be a modern Indian in relation to history. Often beginning with the personal, he inquires into the nature of the secular in India, into the history of such categories as the West, the foreign, the global and the exotic, and into the frequently torn and self-divided nature of modern Indian identity. With the same elegance and intelligence for which he has become known, Chaudhuri writes in these essays about Indian popular culture and high culture, travel and location in Paris, Bombay, Dublin, Calcutta and New York, empire and nationalism, Indian and Western cinema, the place of the everyday in Indian creativity, music, art and literature, politics, race, cosmopolitanism, urban landscapes, Hollywood and Bollywood, Anglophone India, internationalism, globalisation, the Indian English tradition that predates Rushdie, post-colonialism and much more.

«This extraordinary and wide-ranging collection, through a series of highly-focussed aperçus, puts in question the key terms of self-understanding of much modern literature ... a treasure trove of acute and thought-provoking perceptions.» (Charles Taylor, McGill University)
«Amit Chaudhuri’s collected essays and reviews constitute an intellectual autobiography of the first importance.» (Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Global Distinguished Professor of English at NYU)
«Amit Chaudhuri’s career as a novelist has proceeded in tandem with an ongoing engagement as a robust critic and thinker and musician. In these essays breadth of knowledge and the fluency of thought are held in perfect balance. ‘Clearing a Space’ is a compendious, quietly passionate, rigorous and unfailingly eloquent collection.» (Geoff Dyer)
«In this thought-provoking and compelling set of essays Amit Chaudhuri teases out the implications of polarities that may seem fixed and suggests new ways of exploring the narratives of Indian modernity. He asks hard questions of himself as well as others, and he engages us as readers with the warmth and acuity of his observations across a wonderful range of writing.» (Gillian Beer)
«The essays of Amit Chaudhuri are really a wonderful key to the understanding of the vitality and specificity of Indian modernity … a fascinating contribution to the understanding of this great civilization and its modern transformations. They are worth the serious attention of scholars in the social sciences as well as the humanities.» (Shmuel Eisenstadt, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
«Whether making music or writing prose, Amit Chaudhuri offers a distinctive spiritual history of modernity. These collected meditations – which are as elegantly fastidious as they are intellectually adventurous – confirm him as one of our most provocative and consistently interesting artists.» (Pankaj Mishra)

«This extraordinary and wide-ranging collection, through a series of highly-focussed aperçus, puts in question the key terms of self-understanding of much modern literature ... a treasure trove of acute and thought-provoking perceptions.» (Charles Taylor, McGill University)
«Amit Chaudhuri’s collected essays and reviews constitute an intellectual autobiography of the first importance.» (Rajeswari Sunder Rajan, Global Distinguished Professor of English at NYU)
«Amit Chaudhuri’s career as a novelist has proceeded in tandem with an ongoing engagement as a robust critic and thinker and musician. In these essays breadth of knowledge and the fluency of thought are held in perfect balance. ‘Clearing a Space’ is a compendious, quietly passionate, rigorous and unfailingly eloquent collection.» (Geoff Dyer)
«In this thought-provoking and compelling set of essays Amit Chaudhuri teases out the implications of polarities that may seem fixed and suggests new ways of exploring the narratives of Indian modernity. He asks hard questions of himself as well as others, and he engages us as readers with the warmth and acuity of his observations across a wonderful range of writing.» (Gillian Beer)
«The essays of Amit Chaudhuri are really a wonderful key to the understanding of the vitality and specificity of Indian modernity … a fascinating contribution to the understanding of this great civilization and its modern transformations. They are worth the serious attention of scholars in the social sciences as well as the humanities.» (Shmuel Eisenstadt, Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
«Whether making music or writing prose, Amit Chaudhuri offers a distinctive spiritual history of modernity. These collected meditations – which are as elegantly fastidious as they are intellectually adventurous – confirm him as one of our most provocative and consistently interesting artists.» (Pankaj Mishra)