Writing famine, writing empire: Food crisis and anticolonial aesthetics in Liam's O'Flaherty's Famine and Bhabani Bhattacharya's So Many Hungers!

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Abstract

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the colonies controlled by the British, the Dutch, and other European countries witnessed a number of devastating famines. These famines did not solely arise for the ‘natural’ reasons of the shortage of rainfall or food availability problems, but were aggravated by the systemic imperialist exploitation of the world by these major European powers. Taking as its case study the two great famines in Ireland and India – the 1845–52 Irish Famine and the 1943–44 Bengal Famine – the essay offers a reading of Liam O'Flaherty's Famine (1937) and Bhabani Bhattacharya's So Many Hungers! (1947). It shows that these works – apart from registering the devastating impact of the famines on the colonial population – have pointed through their powerful uses of content, form, and style to the world-historical reasons of long-term agrarian crisis, political instability, tyranny of the landlord classes, inefficiency of the British Empire, and others as responsible for the famines.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-73
Number of pages20
JournalIrish University Review
Volume49
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2019

Keywords

  • famine
  • empire
  • food crisis
  • anticolonialism
  • disaster writing
  • Liam O'Flaherty
  • Bhabani Bhattacharya
  • Famine
  • So Many Hungers!

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