Writing Indians and Jews: Metaphorics of Jewishness in South Asian Literature

Overview

Jews and Jewishness loom large in the contemporary South Asian cultural imaginary, both on the subcontinent, and in the diaspora. Along with less canonical authors, Writing Indians and Jews examines many of South Asia's most celebrated and best known contemporary writers working in English – Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh – who have placed Jewish characters and themes at the center of recent works. Anna Guttman argues that the work of Indian Jewish writers complicates the fields of ...

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Writing Indians and Jews: Metaphorics of Jewishness in South Asian Literature

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Overview

Jews and Jewishness loom large in the contemporary South Asian cultural imaginary, both on the subcontinent, and in the diaspora. Along with less canonical authors, Writing Indians and Jews examines many of South Asia's most celebrated and best known contemporary writers working in English – Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh – who have placed Jewish characters and themes at the center of recent works. Anna Guttman argues that the work of Indian Jewish writers complicates the fields of postcolonial studies and her investigations make an important contribution to the study of contemporary South Asian and diasporic literature, and understandings of anti-Semitism, religious fundamentalism, and globalization.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Guttman's book makes an important contribution to the field of Jewish studies by offering a lucid and erudite assessment of the tropes of Jewishness by both Jewish and non-Jewish authors of South Asian descent . . . Writing Indians and Jews offers a comprehensive account of the ways in which metaphors of Jewishness have travelled beyond Europe and the continuing relevance of tropes of Jewishness for both Jewish and non-Jewish authors." - Jewish Quarterly

"Guttman's fascinating study traces a remarkable range of proximities, conjunctions and interactions between Jews and South Asians as enacted in the broad field of South Asian literature. Her searching emphasis on such axial connections between margins and minorities conclusively knocks Eurocentric concepts of the stranger and the stigmatized off their perch. No one interested in the study of postcolonial diasporas, migration, and inter-culturalism can afford to be without this book." - Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, University of Oxford, UK

"The book is a model of careful research by a scholar who understands the entangled intellectual contexts within which Jewishness is discussed in South Asian national and postcolonial discourses. Guttman is extraordinarily knowledgeable about the range of representations of Jews in South Asian literature, and she is able to reveal the nuances with which images of Jews are appropriated or reframed by South Asian writers, including Jewish ones. The study is intellectually broad-ranging, encompassing critical analysis of the correspondingly shifting and unstable place of Jews in Europe and North America, and delving deeply into the ways in which Jews and the representations of them - whether sympathetic or disdainful, complex or stereotypical - have become deeply interwoven into debates on postcolonialism, religion, and cultural identity in South Asia and among its diasporas. Guttman has chosen her topic exceedingly well and writes about it with grace, probity, and passionate intelligence." - Lincoln Shlensky, Associate Professor of English, University of Victoria, Canada

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781137339676
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 6/13/2013
  • Pages: 218
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Anna Guttman is Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature at Lakehead University, Canada. She is the co-editor of The Global Literary Field and author of The Nation of India in Contemporary Indian Literature.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Jews and Indians: Imagining Mobile Subjects
2. Terror and the Archive: Textualizations of (Jewish?) History in Contemporary South Asian Literature
3. "I would always be the Asian, the Shylock": Postcolonial Economies of Jewishness
4. Jewish and Indian: Narrating Between Race, Faith, Ethnicity, and Nation
5. Conclusion

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