Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures

Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures

by A. Mohan

Paperback(1st ed. 2012)

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Shifting the postcolonial focus away from the city and towards the village, this book examines the rural as a trope in twentieth-century South Asian literatures to propose a new literary history based on notions of utopia, dystopia, and heterotopia and how these ideas have circulated in the literary and the cultural imaginaries of the subcontinent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781349346790
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan UK
Publication date: 01/01/2012
Edition description: 1st ed. 2012
Pages: 234
Product dimensions: 5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

ANUPAMA MOHAN is assistant professor at the University of Nevada Reno, USA, where she teaches South Asian studies, critical and literary theory, and Anglophone postcolonial literatures. She has written widely on Indian and Sri Lankan literatures, critical theory, and modern postcolonial drama.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vi

Introduction 1

1 Hind Swaraj and Rural Utopia 35

2 Beddagama: Dystopia in Ceylon 60

3 Kanthapura and Khasak: Utopia in Distress 93

4 Koggala and the Reclaimed Buddhist Utopia 131

5 Rethinking the Binary: Rural Heterotopia 160

Conclusion 183

Notes 187

Bibliography 219

Index 232

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“In a strikingly original way, this important literary study shows how the broader rural dynamics in India and Sri Lanka have moved away from the paradigms of utopian/dystopian and even national/marginal and moved instead towards an interstitial zone of contact, cohabitation and negotiation. In a refreshing rethinking of the utopian in and through Foucault's notion of the 'heterotopic', Anupama Mohan productively turns our focus away from the city to the village and from postcolonial 'othering' toward negotiating difference, or what she calls 'selving' - the constructing of a composite self based on an understanding of difference. This is the important new step the field has been waiting to take.” (Linda Hutcheon, University Professor Emeritus of English and Comparative Literature, University of Toronto, Canada)

“The book is spectacular in its conceptual grasp of the field, and it is possibly the only book in the last two decades to offer a radical and immensely valuable methodology for reading South Asian literature.” (Chelva Kanaganayakam, Professor, Department of English, University of Toronto)

“Anupama Mohan, in Utopia and the Village in South Asian Literatures, offers an innovative reading of the representations of rural village life in the literatures of South Asia... the book offers a refreshing perspective on contemporary debates about the transformative potential of envisaging postcolonial subjectivities in the plural... Utopia and the Village is a significant scholarly work since it competently traverses two neglected areas in the field of postcolonial literary criticism: utopian studies and rural studies. Mohan uses the trope of the rural to rethink utopia, dystopia and heterotopia outside the western modernist paradigm and, through an engaging analysis, recuperates the theoretical potential of these concepts for studying South Asian and other postcolonial literatures. Since Mohan's analysis of literary texts cuts across disciplinary boundaries, this book will be useful to anyone interested in the intersections as well as the divergences in the historical and literary developments of India and Sri Lanka during the twentieth century.” (Nida Sajid, Intersections)

“Mohan should be lauded for her close and careful study of Indian and Sri Lankan literatures; her attentiveness to the historical flashpoints of war, civil disobedience, religious and ethnonationalist movements that animate literary production in the subcontinent; and her nuanced tracing of the influence of literary theories of modernism on the indigenous literatures of South Asia.” (Anitha Ananthram, University of Florida)

“Leaving aside the valuable and informative notions contained in it, the relevance of this volume stems not simply from the fact that much economic, social and cultural life in South Asia takes place in rural villages, where most of the population still lives, but from the fact that, far from being anachronistic elements destined to be swept away from 'progress' and 'modernity', rural villages have played a multifaceted role in shaping our perception of political scenarios, economic progress and cultural development.” (Gerardo Serra, PhD student, Department of Economic History, London School of Economics, UK)

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