Amitav Ghosh

Amitav Ghosh

Copyright Date: 2007
Pages: 224
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  • Book Info
    Amitav Ghosh
    Book Description:

    Amitav Ghosh is an authoritative critical introduction to the fictional and non-fictional writings of one of the most celebrated and significant literary voices to have emerged from India in recent decades. It is the first full-length study of Amitav Ghosh's work to be available outside India. Encompassing all of Ghosh's fictional and non-fictional writings to date, this book takes a thematic approach which enables in-depth analysis of the cluster of themes, ideas and issues that Ghosh has steadily built up into a substantial intellectual project. This project overlaps significantly with many of the key debates in postcolonial studies and so this book is both an introduction to Ghosh's writing and a contribution to the development of ideas on the 'postcolonial' - in particular, its relation to postmodernism. Amitav Ghosh is for students and teachers of postcolonial literatures in English at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

    eISBN: 978-1-84779-181-8
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Series editor’s foreword
    (pp. ix-x)

    Contemporary World Writersis an innovative series of authoritative introductions to a range of culturally diverse contemporary writers from outside Britain and the United States or from ‘minority’ backgrounds within Britain or the United States. In addition to providing comprehensive general introductions, books in the series also argue stimulating original theses, often but not always related to contemporary debates in post-colonial studies.

    The series locates individual writers within their specific cultural contexts, while recognising that such contexts are themselves invariably a complex mixture of hybridised influences. It aims to counter tendencies to appropriate the writers discussed into the canon of...

  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xv-xvi)
  7. Chronology
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  8. 1 Contexts and intertexts
    (pp. 1-40)

    In June 1997The New Yorkermagazine published a special issue on English language Indian fiction to commemorate India and Pakistan’s fiftieth anniversary of independence from colonial rule. Inside is a photograph of some of the most celebrated English language novelists to have emerged from the subcontinent in recent decades, writers whose presence on the bestseller lists of Western literary markets has been accompanied by the unprecedented density of their citations for major literary prizes – Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy, Rohinton Mistry, Amit Chaudhuri, and Vikram Seth amongst others.¹ At the back, slightly out of focus, is Amitav Ghosh;...

  9. 2 The ‘metaphysic’ of modernity
    (pp. 41-84)

    During his fieldwork in Lower Egypt in 1980, Ghosh arranged to meet a local Imam reputed to be highly proficient in the practice of folk medicine. Since folk customs and knowledge were a matter of some relevance to his anthropological research, his meeting with the Imam was surrounded by the expectations established by professional anthropology’s interest in ‘primitive’ or non-modern knowledge. In the event, Ghosh’s expectations were confounded for the Imam had discarded his traditional medicine in favour of modern medical knowledge. Producing a hypodermic syringe as a talisman of the ‘future’, he advised Ghosh to forget about those ‘discredited’...

  10. 3 Looking-glass borders
    (pp. 85-129)

    At the end of the main narrative ofIn an Antique Land(i.e. before the Epilogue), Ghosh recounts his abortive visit to the tomb of a local medieval saint, Sidi Abu-Hasira, in the nearby town of Damanhour. The Sidi had been Jewish, and his tomb therefore attracted a large number of Israeli visitors following the peace treaty signed by Egypt and Israel in the late 1970s. Being neither Jewish nor Israeli nor Egyptian nor Muslim, Ghosh is denied access and even arrested until a senior police offi cer establishes his identity and the reason for his visit. Ghosh realises that...

  11. 4 Tiny threads, gigantic tapestries
    (pp. 130-162)

    If a certain kind of rationality – scientific, empiricist, positivist – constitutes the ‘grammar’ of the metaphysic of modern meaning, then its syntax is History. History makes sense of modernity; it takes the ‘grammar’ of its metaphysic and makes it speak in ‘proper’ sentences that articulate modernity’s principal themes: rationalism, enlightenment, liberty, the individual, the state, civil society, the rule of law, democracy, social justice and, above all, Progress. It does this through narrative. The word ‘history’ contains within it both the sense of ‘events that have happened in time’ and the narration of those events; it is both event and discourse....

  12. 5 Critical overview and conclusion
    (pp. 163-179)

    Amitav Ghosh has established himself as one of the most significant Indian writers of his generation. His work has earned considerable critical acclaim in the Indian subcontinent, Europe, America and indeed much of the world. His major novels have been translated into a number of languages and rewarded with literary prizes.¹ This has in turn helped Ghosh to reach a wide readership, particularly in the United States and the Indian subcontinent. Rather surprisingly, despite the strong critical endorsement of his novels in Britain, his profile there has never been quite so high, which perhaps reflects the inordinate influence of the...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 180-196)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 197-206)
  15. Index
    (pp. 207-211)