English 150

Senior Seminar: The Contemporary Indian Novel in English

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2005 Premnath, Gautam
Premnath, Gautam
MW 12-2 103 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Chaudhuri, A: The Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature; Markandaya, K: Nectar in a Sieve; Rushdie, S: Midnight's Children; Ghosh, A: The Shadow Lines; Roy, A: The God of Small Things; Mistry, R: Family Matters; Chandra, V: Love and Longing in Bombay; Chaudhuri, A: Freedom Song


Over the last twenty-five years Indian novelists writing in English have achieved extraordinary prominence in the global literary marketplace. Their success has coincided with a protracted and profound crisis of the Indian nation-state, which has manifested itself in tremendous political, social, and economic upheaval. This course will examine the relationship between these two coeval developments. Our readings and discussions will trace a decisive shift in the trajectory of the Indian novel in English: from a time when it shared with so-called 'vernacular' writing a vocation to serve as a mirror of nation-formation, to a more recent tendency to cultivate an edgy, often antagonistic relationship with the nation-state. Along the way we'll ask why this new orientation has resonated so powerfully with readers within and beyond India. Apart from a series of challenging (and rewarding) novels, our reading will include work in literary criticism, cultural theory, history, and politics. Your work for the course will culminate in a paper of approximately 20 pages. While the syllabus will focus closely on Indian texts and issues, you are encouraged to pursue comparative projects in your final papers.

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