This book engages with the life and works of the distinctive Hindi writer Krishna Sobti, known for making bold choices of themes in her writing. Also known for her extraordinary use of the Hindi language, she emerges as an embodiment of a counter archive. While presenting the author in the context of her times, this volume offers critical perspectives to define her position in the canon of modern Indian literature.
Alongside important critical essays on her, the inclusion of excerpts from the translations of some major works by the author, such as Zindaginama, Mitro Marjani and Ai Ladki, greatly facilitate an understanding of her worldview and the contexts in which she wrote. Also included in this book are some of her reflections on the creative process that help in unfolding the complexities of her characters and her specific approach to the language of fiction. Writing in the times of significant political and cultural churnings, her fiction includes themes such as the Partition of the country and its aftermath, women and their sexuality, desire and violence, history and memory. Her writing subverted the dominant narratives of the times and de-historicised history. Her own essays and other critical writings demonstrate the way Krishna Sobti’s characters are abundantly polyphonic and seeped in social realities. They encapsulate the cultural milieu of their times and serve as a site of resistance to the dominant archive of power. Her interactions with her fellow Hindi writers such as Nirmal Verma and Krishan Baldev Vaid, as also her letters, her memoirs and the reminiscences of others, further enrich this volume and establish her unique voice.
Part of the ‘Writer in Context’ Series, this book will be useful for scholars and researchers of Indian literature, English literature, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, gender studies, translation studies and Partition studies.
Table of Contents
Part I: Krishna Sobti: The Writer’s Oeuvre Part II: Voicing Issues and Living Spaces Part III: Literary Reception then and Now: Critical Essays on Krishna Sobti Part IV: Conversations with the Writer: The person and her Reflections Part V: Documenting Life Experience: Letters, Memoirs and Biography Part VI: Chronology and Bibliography
Sukrita Paul Kumar is a former fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, and has held the Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at Delhi University. An honorary faculty at Corfu, Greece, she was an invited resident poet at the prestigious International Writing Programme at Iowa, USA. She has published several collections of poems, the recent ones being Country Drive and Dream Catcher. Her critical books include Narrating Partition, The New Story and Conversations on Modernism. She has co-edited several books that include Ismat: Her Life Her Times, Cultural Diversity in India and Speaking for Myself: Asian Women’s Writings as well as published translations of Urdu and Hindi fiction. Amongst many other fellowships and residencies of international significance, she was also invited to be an honorary fellow and resident poet at HK Baptist University, Hong Kong. Her special academic interests are world literature, Partition literature, gender studies and translation. She has held solo exhibitions of her paintings.
Rekha Sethi is a writer, scholar, translator and editor. She teaches Hindi literature and is Coordinator of the Translation and Translation Studies Centre, Indraprastha College, University of Delhi. Her main area of study is post-Independence Hindi poetry and fiction, gender studies and media studies. She has authored five books, edited seven and translated a poetry collection from English into Hindi. Her latest publication is an in-depth study of contemporary women poets in Hindi, critiquing and enquiring connections between gender and literature. This work has been published in two volumes – Stree-Kavita: Paksh aur Pariprekshya and Stree-Kavita: Pehchaan aur Dwandw. She recently co-organised a web-lecture series on ‘Women’s Writings in India’ with Dr. Fauzia Farooqui, South Asian Studies Program, Princeton University. She has also published extensively in leading literary journals and has presented her work at international and national conferences, literary meets and literary festivals in India, Europe and the USA.