This book explores the debates surrounding two dynamic fields – postcolonial studies and world literature. Contrary to many dominant narratives in critical theory, it asserts that as an analytical framework the idea of world literature is dead: the nineteenth-century ideal of world literature had always and already been embedded in colonial histories; and also because whatever promise that ideal held out has been exhausted by postcolonial Anglophone literature. Through fresh and incisive readings of the postcolonial canon and some of its most prominent authors like Rudyard Kipling, V.S. Naipaul, J.M. Coetzee, and Salman Rushdie, the volume discusses how these Anglophone writings have used the banal and ordinary ideal of world literature to fashion out their own trajectories.
Ambitious in scope, this book challenges many of the existing theoretical and literary frameworks and offers a radical reimagination of the fields. The volume, written in an accessible and lively prose, will be indispensable for scholars and researchers of literature, critical theory, postcolonial studies, cultural studies, and comparative literature.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments. Introduction: Poetics of Anglophone Territories. 1. Chapter I: Cunning of Empire 2. Chapter II: Belated Territories 3. Chapter III: Provincial Aesthetics 4. Chapter IV: Minority Report 5. Chapter IV: A Short History of Death. Index
Baidik Bhattacharya is Assistant Professor at the Department of English, University of Delhi, India. He was previously a Lecturer of English Literature at the University of Newcastle, UK (2006–10). He is the co-editor of The Postcolonial Gramsci (Routledge, 2012). His essays have appeared in Critical Inquiry, New Literary History, Boundary 2, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Interventions, and Postcolonial Studies among other places. He also serves on the editorial board of the journal Postcolonial Studies.
‘This deeply absorbing, brilliantly argued and theoretically complex study is a provocative contribution to the "world literature" debate. Bhattacharya’s persuasive reading of the aesthetic legacies of empire suggests that world literature today is postcolonial Anglophone writing. This book should be required reading for scholars of modern global literatures.’ - Supriya Chaudhuri, Professor Emerita, Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India
‘In Postcolonial Writing in the Era of World Literature, Baidik Bhattacharya challenges those who consider that World Literature has rendered the Postcolonial outmoded: he resituates the debate to show that it is not a question of the one following the other or of simply being able to choose one over the other, showing that World Literature is itself an Orientalist construction. Its western adherents remain blithely oblivious to its postcolonial condition, determined by the very problem that they imagine World Literature has allowed them to ignore. A powerful and persuasive intervention, a game-changer.’ - Robert J.C. Young, Julius Silver Professor of English and Comparative Literature, New York University, USA