Narrativizing the Nation
Re-thinking the issue of National Allegory in Indian English Fiction
Bela J Desai
The M S University of Baroda
This book considers the distinctive features of Third World Literature as a special category without seeing it in opposition to the Western literary canon. in the context of Fredric Jameson’s views about Third World Literature published in the journal Social Text in 1986.
The novels of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Vikram Seth exemplify how creative writing can re-configure this trope of the nation by forging in their narratives the materiality of history and the subjectivity of the experience of that materiality, which finally blurs the distinction between history and fiction. While trying to understand the complexity in the narrativization of nation, history and identity formation through fictional form, I shall focus on how the three writers have perceived post-independent India in different ways, while maintaining their profound fascination with its resilient nature. The book critiques Jameson’s hypothesis which avers that all Third World texts are necessarily to be read as “national allegories.” By examining Jameson’s politics of criticism against the fiction of Rushdiev Ghosh and Seth, the notion of the nation will be re-conceptualized in order to suggest that it transcends the limits marked in Jameson’s argument.
ISBN 9783862883776. LINCOM Studies in Language and Literature 11. 205pp. 2012.