Postcolonial Modernity and the Indian Novel: On Catastrophic Realism

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

This book argues that modernity in postcolonial India has been synonymous with catastrophe and crisis. Focusing on the literary works of the 1943 Bengal Famine, the 1967–72 Naxalbari Movement, and the 1975–77 Indian Emergency, it shows that there is a long-term, colonially-engineered agrarian crisis enabling these catastrophic events. Novelists such as Bhabani Bhattacharya, Mahasweta Devi, Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry, Nabarun Bhattacharya, and Nayantara Sahgal, among others, have captured the relationship between the long-term crisis and the catastrophic aspects of the events through different aesthetic modalities within realism, ranging from analytical-affective, critical realist, quest modes to apparently non-realist ones such as metafictional, urban fantastic, magical realist, and others. These realist modalities are together read here as postcolonial catastrophic realism.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages280
ISBN (Electronic)9783030373979
ISBN (Print)9783030373962, 9783030373993
Publication statusPublished - 27 May 2020

Publication series

NameNew Comparisons in World Literature

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • postcolonial modernity
  • catastrophic realism
  • Indian novels
  • Indian fiction
  • 1943-44 Bengal famine
  • Naxalbari Movement
  • State of Emergency
  • British modernisation programmes
  • British Raj
  • modes or realism
  • global realisms
  • Bhabani Bhattacharya
  • Amalendu Chakraborty
  • Mahasweta Devi
  • Nabarun Bhattacharya
  • Salman Rushdie
  • Nayantara Sahgal
  • Rohinton Mistry


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