1st Edition

Language, Style and Variation in Contemporary Indian English Literary Texts

By Esterino Adami Copyright 2022

    Language, Style and Variation in Contemporary Indian English Literary Texts is a volume which examines the linguistic and stylistic forms of Indian English in new fictional texts to explore the power of language to construct meaning, express identity, and convey ideology. Specifically, this study proposes the elaboration and application of postcolonial stylistics, i.e. an interdisciplinary methodology that uses different disciplines, such as literary linguistics and postcolonial studies as a critical lens to read contemporary Indian authors like Jeet Thayil, Deepa Anappara, Avni Doshi, Tabish Khair, and Megha Majumdar. The linguistic fabric of their fiction is investigated in a series of case studies, observing the stylistic rendition of a wide range of themes and tropes, such as the representation of Otherness, drug discourse, lament and the senses, which cumulatively portray aspects of the current Indian narrative scenario. The book develops ideas growing out of several disciplines to reach a fuller understanding of cultural phenomena in the postcolonial context, and by extension in the social world.



    1. Introduction

    1.1 Language, Style, and Variation in Indian English Literary Texts

    1.2 Aims of the Book and Case Studies

    1.3 For a New Methodological Paradigm: Postcolonial Stylistics

    1.4 Overview of the Book

    2. Indian English across Texts and Discourses

    2.1 English in/and India

    2.2 Indian English(es) and Linguistic/Stylistic Variation

    2.3 Literary Texts and Contemporary Indian English Authors

    3. Otherness, Style and Indian English ‘Decadent’ Fiction

    3.1 The Language of Otherness in the Postcolonial Indian World

    3.2 Author, Text, and Context: Jeet Thayil

    3.3 Otherness and the Construction of Drug Discourse

    3.4 Of Poets, Saints, and Sinners: Indian English and Postcolonial Heteroglossia

    4. The Voices of ‘Lament’ in Indian English Literature

    4.1 Language, Lament, and Literature

    4.2 Author, Text and Context: Deepa Anappara

    4.3 Constructing Empathy, Irony, and Texture

    4.4 Author, Text, and Context: Avni Doshi

    4.5 Remembering, Forgetting: Loss, Memory, and Identity

    5. Languaging the Sense(s) of Indian English Fiction

    5.1 Representing the Senses in Language and Fiction

    5.2 Author, Text, and Context: Tabish Khair

    5.3 The Pragmatics of Senses: Embodiment, Perception, and Suspense

    5.4 Author, Text, and Context: Megha Majumdar

    5.5 "You smell like smoke": Language, Sense(s), and Identity

    6. Conclusions

    6.1 More Tools and Theories for Indian English in Fictional Texts

    6.2 Further Research: Other Genres and Research Extensions



    Esterino Adami is an Associate Professor of English language and translation at the University of Turin, Department of Humanities, Italy. His main research areas include critical stylistics, postcolonial writing, and sociolinguistics. He has published articles and book chapters on lexical aspects of Indian English, naming and ideology in the postcolonial Indian world, metaphors for languages, the narrative rendition of specialised discourse (botany, food, the railways), and the semiotics of comics. He has authored Railway Discourse: Linguistic and Stylistic Representations of the Train in the Anglophone World (2018) and co-edited Other Worlds and the Narrative Construction of Otherness (2017, with F. Bellino and A. Mengozzi) and Within and Across: Language and Construction of Shifting Identities in Post-Colonial Contexts (2012, with A. Martelli).

    "Esterino Adami’s book offers a fresh and compelling account of what he terms as ‘postcolonial stylistics’, essential for examining the linguistic representation of identity, society, and culture in contemporary Indian Writing in English. It is a well-researched book and will add to the existing scholarship on IWE and postcolonial studies."

    Om Prakash Dwivedi, Bennett University, India

    "At last, a volume that takes equally seriously the linguistic content and literary criticism in recent Indian writing! Adami has taken on the challenge of the new postcolonial stylistics, and combines many different tools of the trade to give us in-depth analyses."

    Peter K. W. Tan, National University of Singapore, Singapore