From Aristotle to Seneca, ancient philosophers considered anger to be aggressive and incompatible with rational conduct, and later thinkers associated this “illogical” emotion with femininity and its flaws. In Acts of Angry Writing: On Citizenship and Orientalism in Postcolonial India, author Alessandra Marino looks at anger differently, as an essential condition for writing in contexts of struggle. Analyzing the activist literature and autobiographical writings of Indian writers Mahasweta Devi, Arundhati Roy, and Sampat Pal, Marino sheds light on anger as a trigger for the political writing where struggles for the basic rights of indigenous people and lower castes are fought.
Acts of Angry Writing is divided into four parts. In the first two, Marino focuses on Roy and Devi to analyze the relation between the authors’ works and some of the most famous actions of social protest in which they have been involved. In the third part, Marino examines the representation of anger as a productive emotion in Warrior in a Pink Sari, the autobiography of Sampat Pal, a telling example of the close relation between literature, social reality, and ongoing political debates.Marino concludes by reflecting on the link between an ethical call that initiates acts of social protest and the writing related to active citizenship movements in contemporary rural India.
Acts of Angry Writing will be informative reading for scholars in a range of fields, from cultural and postcolonial studies to gender studies, South Asian studies, and citizenship studies. Its rich discussion of performativity and speech acts theory bridges the gap between the fields of literary theory, law, and citizenship.
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