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    Transforming Limits: Home, Literary Activism and Engagement in South Asian Literature


    Gallagher, Ciara (2011) Transforming Limits: Home, Literary Activism and Engagement in South Asian Literature. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Abstract

    This research project considers activism, in various fields, as a significant and recurring preoccupation of South Asian literary fiction and non - fiction predominantly in the twentieth century, with some notable extensions into the first decade o f the twenty - first century. Relatedly, it considers the centrality of ‘home’ in cultural, social and political thought in twentieth - century South Asia, demonstrating how the dual issues of home and literary activism are made interdependent. In doing so, th e thesis aims to chart how understandings of an activist engagement and an idea of home in the context of literature from South Asia may be reconfigured. In order to examine the links between the realm of the home, diversely politicised, contested, and ide alised, and the specific entanglements of a literary activism stemming from this variously configured idea of home, this study analyses literary texts that span a number of generic and formal boundaries. The analysis of the interrelation of activism, eng agement and home begins with a case study of Cornelia Sorabji’s 1901 volume of short stories Love and Life Behind the Purdah . Highlighting the longer genealogy of South Asian literature that is actively engaged through the prism of the private realm, this case study also demonstrates the imposed limitations of such a literary mode. Section Two of the thesis continues the attention to issues of home, analysing the way in which home as a traditionally bounded ideal is extended to its ‘ limits ’ in recent litera ry treatments . Chapter Three analyses Kiran Desai’s novel The Inheritance of Loss in terms of its recurring attention to material culture; Chapter Four examines selected work s by Arundhati Roy and Indra Sinha as interventions into an ecocritical domain; an d, Chapter Five considers children’s literary texts by Mahasweta Devi and Salman Rushdie. Overall, this thesis argues that the narrative depiction of home, of its limits, and its potential for transformation, marks a key site for the understanding of liter ary activism and engagement in South Asian literature.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: Home; Literary Activism, South Asian Literature;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 4688
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2014 15:14
    URI:

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