1st Edition

Bangladeshi Literature in English Critical Essays and Interviews

Edited By Mohammad A. Quayum, Md. Mahmudul Hasan Copyright 2024

    This pioneering book brings together several critical essays on Bangladeshi writers in the English language, both at home and abroad, and interviews with a prominent poet and a novelist.

    The past years have seen various attempts to conceptualize and debate the tradition of Bangladeshi literature in English. English has been in Bengal, which included the geographical territory that constitutes present-day Bangladesh, since the arrival of Ralph Fitch in 1583, and although Bengalis started experimenting creatively in the language in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the tradition suffered significant setbacks in Bangladesh and remained in semi-muzzled state for various political and cultural reasons discussed in the book, before and after independence. However, the tradition has seen a surge since the 1990s, and several writers have emerged on home soil and in places where Bangladeshis have settled, including Australia, Canada, Sweden, the UK, and the USA. The book provides an overview of this tradition and investigates the various thematic and stylistic issues in the works of the selected writers, suggesting the vibrancy and versatility of this evolving national and postcolonial literary stream.

    The book will be of interest to researchers, academics, and scholars in the field of Bangladeshi writing in English, Southeast Asian literature, Asian literature, diaspora, and literary studies. The chapters in this book were originally published in the Journal of Postcolonial Writing.

    Introduction—Bangladeshi literature in English: A thrice born tradition

    Mohammad A. Quayum and Md. Mahmudul Hasan


    1. Muslim Bengal writes back: Rokeya’s encounter with and representation of Europe

    Md. Mahmudul Hasan


    2. Panchayat and colonialism in Humayun Kabir’s Men and Rivers

    Md. Mahmudul Hasan


    3. “Here I’ll stay”: Kaiser Haq’s poems and the impact of being at home

    Kathryn Hummel


    4. Toxic grace? Tahmima Anam’s The Bones of Grace and the pollution trade

    Md. Alamgir Hossain


    5. Beyond national(ist) binaries: The case of Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know

    Md Rezaul Haque


    6. Introducing a Bangladeshi writer in English: An interview with Kaiser Haq

    Mohammad A. Quayum


    7. Delving beneath the surface: An interview with Monica Ali

    Sadaf Saaz


    Mohammad A. Quayum is a full-time researcher and Professor in the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences at Flinders University, Australia. He taught at universities in Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore, and the US before returning to his alma mater, Flinders University, in 2020. He is the author, editor, and translator of numerous books in the areas of American literature, Bengali literature, and Southeast Asian literature.

    Md. Mahmudul Hasan is Professor of English and postcolonial literature at International Islamic University Malaysia. He completed a PhD in compartive literature at the University of Portsmouth, did a postdoctoral stint at the University of Heidelberg, and taught in the Department of English at the University of Dhaka. He has published in the fields of feminist, postcolonial, Islamic, South Asian, and Muslim diasporic literatures, as well as Islam and English studies.