'There Was No Looking Away'

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Lisa Freigang

'There Was No Looking Away'. Representations of Post-Partition Communal Violence in Indian English Literature

ISBN 978-3-86821-952-4, 200 S., kt., € 32,50 (2022)

(ELCH - Studies in English Literary and Cultural History, Bd. 87)

The partition of the Indian subcontinent into the states of India and Pakistan and the violence that occurred in its wake have been depicted in many works of fiction and received considerable attention from literary critics. Outbreaks of violence between members of different religious communities in India since then, however, have only more recently occupied the cultural and critical imagination. This study explores ten Indian novels in English published between 2001 and 2013 that address outbreaks of post-partition communal violence of the ‘80s, ‘90s, and ‘00s as their main subjects. Focusing on the historical and political contexts of the novels, the first part of the literary analysis examines how the texts negotiate the discourse on communal violence and question widespread narratives explaining its causes and triggers. The second part concentrates on the challenges that emerge when representing violence in general and trauma in particular. It explores the aesthetic strategies used in the novels to represent ‘the unspeakable’ – such as magical realism, ekphrastic strategies, or the use of photographs as a means of ‘picturing violence’ – and reveals them to be a response to the societal amnesia surrounding communal violence and its aftermath. The study thus brings to light distinct themes and recurrent narrative strategies related to the representation of communal violence within the diverse body of fiction considered, which includes works by Shashi Tharoor, Githa Hariharan, Sujit Saraf, Raj Kamal Jha, Jaspreet Singh, and Chetan Bhagat.

Buchvorschau / Inhaltsverzeichnis (pdf)