Issue Details: First known date: 2016 2016
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'Commonwealth literary studies functioned for some time as comparative work across discrete national literary cultures. Using the curious instance of an Indian novelist finding publication with an Australian publisher, this article shows how similar and different colonial dynamics of literary production both kept national contexts meaningful and undid them through transnational connections.' (Publication abstract)

Notes

  • Following the publication of this article, the author has revised the second paragraph on page 18. The new paragraph is as follows:

    Even so, this may all sound like a rather scholarly exercise in minor details of the past. However, the past has a habit of resurfacing, and seemingly irrelevant curiosities turn out to be part of an ongoing dynamic, unseen because they do not conform to dominant critical and cultural formations. Bhattacharya not only had a story published in the pioneering Australian collection of Asian writing, he also toured Australia, taking part in the Adelaide Festival of Arts in 1962. The recently published writer Thomas Keneally was following such events and met R.K. Narayan at the 1972 Festival, then later, Mulk Raj Anand, who exhorted the Australian to have his novels sold into India. Keneally’s agent investigates and decides that the lack of copyright security in the subcontinent made it not worth the effort.18 Many years later, however, after the liberalizing of Indian trade and the collapse of the colonial Traditional Markets Agreement between US and British publishers, Keneally is one of a delegation of Australian writers attending the Kolkata Book Fair, and Schindler’s Ark, his Booker-winning title, is on bookshop shelves in India (Bandyopadhyay, 2011: 27). In the interim, Keneally’s interest in famine — beginning with the Irish “potato famine” and the near starvation of the first convict colony in Australia that affected his own family history, then extending to analysis of the famine in Ethiopia and war with Eritrea — led him to read up on the Bengal famine during the Second World War. His book Three Famines, on how all three famines were politically produced, cites Bhabani Bhattacharya’s So Many Hungers and He Who Rides a Tiger (Keneally, 2010: 57, 158). These many small and fleeting literary connections between India and Australia together make up a significant network operating often “under the radar” of nationalist and postcolonial critical work, but which the “transnational turn” in recent times and with it the interest in book history make more significantly visible.

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Last amended 31 Aug 2016 13:05:01
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