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Decentering Rushdie: Cosmopolitanism and the Indian Novel in English, Pranav Jani, Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2010

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Abstract Decentering Rushdie argues that postcolonial studies has consistently underestimated the investment of the English-language Indian novel in the nation by focusing on a handful of texts that conform to Western assumptions about the bankruptcy of the postcolonial nation-state. Taking Salman Rushdie’s work as the sign of a presumed homology between postcolonialism and a postmodern distrust of totality, Jani demonstrates that his novels are hardly representative of the range of Indian writing in English. Instead, in a series of expert readings of less well-known texts, he demonstrates the commitment to the decolonising project that exists even within the inevitably cosmopolitan worldview of Indians writing in a colonial language. Situating his work within foundational debates in postcolonial studies, this review demonstrates the fresh light he sheds on the vexed relations among historical location, political ideology and literary form.

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3. Bartolovich Crystal , Lazarus Neil Marxism, Modernity, and Postcolonial Studies 2002 Cambridge Cambridge University Press
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6. Foucault Michel Bouchard Donald F. "‘What Is an Author?’" Language, Counter-Memory, Practice: Selected Essays and Interviews 1977 Ithaca Cornell University Press
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8. Hutcheon Linda The Politics of Postmodernism 1989 London Routledge http://dx.doi.org/10.4324/9780203426050
9. Jameson Fredric "‘Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism’" Social Text 1986 Vol 15 65 88 http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/466493
10. Jani Pranav Decentering Rushdie: Cosmopolitanism and the Indian Novel in English 2010 Columbus Ohio State University Press
11. Khair Tabish Babu Fictions: Alienation in Contemporary Indian English Novels 2001 Oxford Oxford University Press
12. Larsen Neil Determinations: Essays on Theory, Narrative and Nation in the Americas 2001 London Verso
13. Lenin Vladimir Ilyich "‘The Question of Nationalities of “Autonomisation”’" Collected Works 1972 [1923] Moscow Progress Publishers
14. Parry Benita Postcolonial Studies: A Materialist Critique 2004 London Routledge
15. Rushdie Salman Midnight’s Children 1980 New York Knopf
16. Rushdie Salman The Satanic Verses 1988 New York Viking Press
17. Rushdie Salman , West Elizabeth Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing 1947–1997 1997 London Picador
18. Said Edward "‘Intellectuals in the Post-Colonial World’" Salmagundi 1986 Vol 70 1 44 64
19. Spivak Gayatri Chakravorty Nelson Cary , Grossberg Lawrence "‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’" Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture 1988 Chicago University of Illinois Press
20. FN1 1. Chakrabarty 1992, p. 2. The quotation comes from Hutcheon 1989, p. 65.
21. FN2 2. Ahmad 1987, p. 5.
22. FN3 3. I refer, of course, to Spivak’s well-known essay ’Can the Subaltern Speak?’. See Spivak 1988.
23. FN4 4. Foucault had asked, quoting Beckett, ’What does it matter who is speaking?’. See Foucault 1977.
24. FN5 5. Said 1986, p. 53.
25. FN6 6. Jameson 1986, p. 65.
26. FN7 7. Jameson 1986, pp. 65, 69.
27. FN8 8. Ahmad 1987, p. 4.
28. FN9 9. Ibid.
29. FN10 10. Ahmad 1987, p. 5.
30. FN11 11. Ahmad 1987, p. 12.
31. FN12 12. Ahmad 1987, p. 9.
32. FN13 13. Lenin 1972.
33. FN14 14. Ahmad 1995, p. 11; Larsen 2001, p. 29.
34. FN15 15. Parry 2004, p. 10.
35. FN16 16. Khair 2001, p. xi.
36. FN17 17. This attention to the way these texts imagine a relationship between élite and subaltern is what distinguishes Jani’s work from Khair’s, as Khair is more interested in the contradictions withinthe élite, or Babu, texts he investigates.
37. FN18 18. In the Introduction to this anthology Mirrorwork– subtitled ’50 Years of Indian Writing, 1947–1997’, but including only one text in translation – Rushdie had argued that ’the prose writing ... created in this [post-Independence] period by Indian writers working in English, is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what has been produced in the 16 “official languages” of India’ (quoted in Jani 2010, p. 14).
38. FN19 19. Rushdie 1980, p. 39.
39. FN20 20. Roy’s novel is the sole text to be read alone.
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/content/journals/10.1163/156920612x632836
2012-01-01
2015-08-04

Affiliations: 1: University at Albany pstasi@albany.edu

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