Prose of the World: Modernism and the Banality of Empireby Saikat Majumdar
Everyday life in the far outposts of empire can be static, empty of the excitement of progress. A pervading sense of banality and boredom are, therefore, common elements of the daily experience for people living on the colonial periphery. Saikat Majumdar suggests that this impoverished affective experience of colonial modernity significantly shapes the innovative… See more details below
Everyday life in the far outposts of empire can be static, empty of the excitement of progress. A pervading sense of banality and boredom are, therefore, common elements of the daily experience for people living on the colonial periphery. Saikat Majumdar suggests that this impoverished affective experience of colonial modernity significantly shapes the innovative aesthetics of modernist fiction.
Prose of the World explores the global life of this narrative aesthetic, from late-colonial modernism to the present day, focusing on a writer each from Ireland (James Joyce), New Zealand (Katherine Mansfield), South Africa (Zoe Wicomb), and India (Amit Chaudhuri). Ranging from Joyce's deflated epiphanies to Chaudhuri's disavowal of the grand spectacle of postcolonial national narratives, Majumdar foregrounds the banal as a key instinct of modern and contemporary fiction -- one that nevertheless remains submerged because of its antithetical relation to literature's intuitive function.
Majumdar forces us to rethink the assumption that banality merely indicates an aesthetic failure. If narrative is traditionally enabled by the tremor, velocity, and excitement of the event, the historical and affective lack implied by the banal produces a narrative force that is radically new precisely because it suspends the conventional impulses of narration.
- Columbia University Press
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- New Edition
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
What People are saying about this
"Beautifully written and evidence of a fine intelligence. It offers a striking and important intervention in ongoing debates in both modernist and post-colonial studies, and as such will be a point of discussion and reference for quite a long time."
Edna Duffy, Professor of English at UC Santa Barbara, and author of The Speed Handbook: Velocity, Pleasure, Modernism
Meet the Author
Saikat Majumdar is an assistant professor of English at Stanford University and the author of a novel, Silverfish.
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >