Writing the Mother in Indian Women’s Fiction
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This book constitutes a feminist literary analysis of motherhood as presented in selected Indian women’s fictions across a diverse range of geographical, linguistic, class and caste contexts.
Situated at the crossroads of motherhood studies and literary studies, this book offers a rigorous examination of the prosody and politics of motherhood in this corpus. In its five thematically focused chapters, the book scrutinises in depth such key concerns as maternal ambivalence; maternal agency and caste; mother-daughter relationships; motherhood and diaspora; and non-biological motherhood. It attempts to understand the literary ramifications of these issues in order to identify the ways in which fiction writers reconceive of the notion of motherhood and maternal identities from and against multiple perspectives. Another pressing concern is whether these Indian women writers’ visions furnish readers with any different understandings of motherhood as compared to dominant Western feminist discourses.
This book advances feminist literary criticism in the specific area of Indian women’s writing and the overarching areas of motherhood and literature by acting as a launchpad into a complex constellation of ideas concerning motherhood. The fictional universe is at once ambivalent, diverse, contingent, grounded in a specific location, and yet well placed to converse with discourses emanating from other times and places.
Table of Contents
Of Motherhood, Metaphor, and Materiality
Reluctant Mothers? : Maternal Subjectivity and Ambivalence
Cast(e)ing Motherhood: Caste, Marginality, and Maternal Agency
Mothering Daughters: Vicissitudes of Mother-Daughter Relationships
Motherhood and Diaspora: Remembering and Remaking Home
Maternal Non-mothers: Motherhood Beyond Biology
Moving the Maternal: Towards Solidarity
Indrani Karmakar is an Alexander von Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow based at the Chemnitz University of Technology. Her works have previously appeared in the Journal of Commonwealth Literature and Wasafiri, and she is the co-author of Storying Relationships: Young British Muslims Speak and Write about Sex and Love (2021).