Wednesday, April 11, 2012

On the Fringes: Marginalised Voices in English Literature

On the Fringes:
Marginalised Voices in English Literature
ISBN 978-81-7273-657-6

AuthorsPress, New Delhi
 Worldwide Circulation through Authorspress Global Network. The book is also available online on flipkart, infibeam, alibris,  amazon, snapdeal,  ebay, Southasiabooks and so on
First Published in 2012 by Authorspress, New Delhi-110  016

As stated in the Post-Colonial Studies Reader, “Literary Resistance (LR) . . . can be seen as a form of contractual understanding between the text and the reader . . . buttressed by a political and cultural aesthetic at work in the culture. And Resistance Literature (RL) . . . can be seen as that category of literary writing which emerges as an integral part of an organised struggle or resistance for national liberation.”

With both the categories of LR and RL as the backbone of the Postcolonial theory, we know that domination is the mother of resistance and the forces of power-play. Resistance is very much conditioned by those very socio-political forces that it seeks to challenge. The birth of the Post-Colonial theory, underlines two important points:
1) Domination and resistance are mutually interdependent;
2) The Will to Power is central to both.

The difference between LR and RL is subtle and important.  If Gayatri Chakravarty Spivak explores the issue of the “subaltern voice” in one of the foundational texts of Postcolonial Studies: “Can the Subaltern Speak?” and notes that any attempt to recover the voices, perspectives and subjectivities of the socially outcaste is heavily compromised. We also have Frantz Fanon and of course, Homi Bhabha who argue in favour of the pathos of ‘cultural confusion’ so that it can be used as a strategy of political subversion. Notions of the orient “Other” and European “Self” throughout the world- and questions of identity back home and the world over have been effectively tackled by writers like Bhisham Sahni, Shashi Tharoor, Amrinder Kaur, Taslima Nasreen, Manjushree Thapa, Mahasweta Devi and of course, writers of the Dalit literature in India.  Whether it be an analysis of Tawfiq Awwad or Mongane Serote, or our very own Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao, their writing put forth the marginalised subjectivity in literature. How far have the marginalised voices reached? Can they still not speak? Do other social/cultural theories offer a way out of this silence/confusion? How have the marginalised been portrayed in Literature? The present anthology On the Fringes: Marginalised Voices in English Literature attempts to explore such marginalize voices and the problem involved in crushing or establishing the “oppressive power structures”.  

From Bondages to Emancipation: Women in English Literature

From Bondages to Emancipation:
Women in English Literature
ISBN 978-81-7273-656-9

 Worldwide Circulation through Authorspress Global Network. The book is also available online on flipkart, infibeam, alibris,  amazon, snapdeal,  ebay, Southasiabooks and so on

First Published in 2012 by AUTHORSPRESSNew Delhi-110  016

For all we know, we inhabit the ‘postmodern’ society, where voices clash, react and converge only to split into a cacophonic harmony of new and emerging trends that influence lives as well as cultures. Yet, when it comes to the audibility of women’s voices in the amalgam of sounds, the volume is rather low---is it that they still do not have a voice?...or is it that they speak and we fail to hear them?
Working for women through various platforms gave us both these experiences and it was while ruminating on such issues, the idea of this book From Bondages to Emancipation: Women in English Literature germinated. The experiences of women reflected in literature and the myriad interpretations of those reflections by both men and women readers, seemed to be an interesting opening towards the unlocking of their urges and longings for emancipation through the media of pen and paper. Whether it be the discussion of literary theories or an analysis of literary characters, this book has made an effort to catalogue the power of women’s expressions---both reading and writing. This analysis purports to break the stereotypical belief systems that convince us that the burdens of power are too great to seek and the happiness of powerlessness is too great to leave. The prisons of predictions are broken through efforts that seek to enhance and glorify the individual destinies of women through literature.
If writing in one’s mothertongue can be alternatively deciphered as the continuatin of the idea of a female linguistic/literary heritage; a discussion of alternate models of sexuality seems to openly threaten the ideal of heteronormativism (the idea/belief that heterosexuality is the norm from which any sexual behaviour deviant is condemned as un-natural, immoral and “queer”.) In all forms there registers a strong sense of what Adrienne Rich called the “Lesbian Continuum”, which is nothing but an all-encompassing space wherein all relationships between women, sexual and non-sexual, find articulation and strength. Well, at all levels (and dealing with all forms of feminist articulations) the one thing that perpetually haunted our minds was the defining of women’s creativity as resistance and art...defining it so that the “newly found feminist” thinker in our women readers ( and to quiet an extent in the males as well) would not feel guilty...guilty of being a bad cook, guilty of being a bad mother...or the guilt of being a writer in the first place...when the vegetables were waiting to be washed in the kitchen! Writing is therapeutic, for the researcher as well as the author...and this volume aims to present in a coherent form the pressures of both various bondages  and resistance, both through a reading of the presented texts and their that we might once again be able to possibly find a way to women’s voices...women’s emancipation! This was our attempt and we hope this volume turns out to be as such!!
Dr. Arvind M. Nawale

                                              -Dr. Sheeba Rakesh