How does one read a foundational postcolonial writer in English with declared Indian subcontinent roots?
This book looks at ways of reading, and uncovering and recovering meanings, in postcolonial writing in English through the works of Salman Rushdie. It uses textual criticism and applied literary theory to resurrect the underlying literary architecture of one of the world’s most controversial, celebrated and enigmatic authors. It sheds light upon key aspects of Rushdie’s craft and the literary influences that contribute to his celebrated hybridity. It analyses how Rushdie uses his exceptional mastery of European, Anglo-American, Indian, Arabic and Persian literary and cultural forms to cultivate a fresh register of English that expands Western literary traditions. It also investigates an archival modernism that characterizes the writings of Rushdie.
Drawing on the hitherto unexplored Rushdie Emory Archive, this book will be essential reading for students of literature, especially South Asian writing, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, linguistics and history.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Scribes Scholars and Annotations
Part I Annotating Salman Rushdie
Part II Rushdie Annotations: The Classic Corpus
Vijay Mishra is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia. He has two doctorates, the first in Medieval Indian Poetry and Aesthetics from the Australian National University, and the second in Eighteenth-Century English Literature from Oxford University. Between 2010 and 2015 he was an Australian Research Council Professorial Fellow. In 2017 he was awarded another Australian Research Council Discovery Grant to write a book on V. S. Naipaul based on the University of Tulsa Naipaul Archive. At various times he has been Professor of English Literature, University of Alberta, Canada; Senior Fellow, University of Wales; Professorial Fellow, University of California Santa Cruz; Robert Evans Fellow, University of Otago; Visiting Professor of English, Universität des Saarlandes; Professorial Fellow, Humanities Research Centre, Australian National University; Christensen Professorial Fellow, St Catherine’s College, Oxford; and Erich Auerbach Professor of Global Literary Studies, University of Tübingen. Fluent in English, Hindi, Fijian and Fiji Hindi, he reads Sanskrit, Old and Middle English, French and German. He has been the Chair of the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards and of the S. E. Asian and Australasian Section of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Among his major book publications are Dark Side of the Dream: Australian Literature and the Postcolonial Mind (1991, with Bob Hodge); The Gothic Sublime (1994); Devotional Poetics and the Indian Sublime (1998); Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire (2002); The Literature of the Indian Diaspora: Theorizing the Diasporic Imaginary (2007); and What Was Multiculturalism? A Critical Retrospective (2012). He is a Fellow of the Australian Humanities Academy (FAHA).
‘Salman Rushdie’s remarkable novels are profuse and profligate in their use of literary references, mythological allusions, cinematic citations, private jokes, and public declamations. To all of this add his protean cultural archive, his multilingual voice, and insights on an infinitely expanding world. Vijay Mishra’s courageous and careful book delves deeply into Rushdie’s echo chamber of associations and annotations and provides us with a crucial study of the postcolonial text as figured through Rushdie’s creative genius.’
Homi K. Bhabha, Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities, Department of English, Harvard University, USA
‘No future commentator on Rushdie's works will dare not cite [this volume] ... this super maha-bhashya … I must say that in this work [Vijay Mishra] has made the postcolonial do what no other postcolonial critic has the scholarly equipment to even dream of doing. This act is in a class by itself.’
Harish Trivedi, former Professor of English, University of Delhi, India
‘Calvino wrote, "What stirs literature is the call and attraction of what is not in the dictionary." Yet Vijay Mishra has produced no less than a dictionary of a great writer’s imagination, a combination OED and Hobson-Jobson of the private, pop-cultural, interlinguistic, and serendipitous connotations of Salman Rushdie’s wonderful word-universe. What a feast!’
Neil ten Kortenaar, Professor and Director, Centre for Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, Canada
‘Annotations and their uses are given a lucid examination, primarily in the development of four key novels of Salman Rushdie. The cryptic, the post-colonial, the hybrid and the love and play of words are deciphered in expert fashion, while inviting us to re-read and annotate Rushdie for ourselves. Vijay Mishra is no less than masterful in this respect.’
Rajinder Dudrah, Professor of Cultural Studies and Creative Industries, Birmingham School of Media, Birmingham City University, UK