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dc.contributor.authorSoni, Siddharthen
dc.description.abstractArguing with dominant understandings of the novel as a form best suited to respond to the urgencies of anticolonial nationalism and the challenges of secular democracy, this thesis stakes a claim for the short story as a form that played a vital role in instilling a radical consciousness in the period leading up to the Independence and Partition of India in August 1947. It also argues that within the frames of reference for the short story, and especially the bhasas (Indian-vernacular) short story, the ‘nation’ must not be treated as the epochal ideology or the only conceived category for literary and cultural radicalism. In order to understand the politics of the short story in late-colonial India, there needs to be a deeper engagement with the historical, material, and print-cultural contexts in which these texts appeared, as well as with the institutional sites and circuits through which they are received in the comparative academy. Starting with the publication of the 1932 pamphlet Angaarey (Embers) and going through to Manto’s Siya Hashiye (Black Marginalia) in 1948, this thesis is a comparative study of short stories written in three prominent languages in North India—English, Hindi, and Urdu—in the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the writers considered in the thesis are Mulk Raj Anand, Ahmed Ali, Rashed Jahan, Sajjad Zaheer, and Sa’adat Hasan Manto. This thesis also places European short story theory in dialogue with the bhasas with the help of Premchand’s collection of essays, Kahanikala (The Art of the Short Story, 1922). The thesis demonstrates that by examining the ‘politics’ of the short story form, we can complicate settled critical narratives about nation and nationalism, and further reconstellate the ideals of body, sexuality, self-identity, freedom, and resistance forged under colonial rule and communal violence in late-colonial India. I propose here an approach to reading the ‘postcolonial text’ that goes beyond reading texts as mere testaments to their politics. I study the way these texts are radically invested in their aesthetics, their ethics, and the materiality of their production, thus disrupting many privileged assumptions within postcolonial studies about aesthetic form and ethical thinking.en
dc.rightsAll rights reserveden
dc.subjectIndian literatureen
dc.subjectshort storyen
dc.titleTelling Fragments: Politics of the Short Story in Late-Colonial Indiaen
dc.type.qualificationnameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Cambridgeen
dc.publisher.collegeSt Edmunds
dc.type.qualificationtitleDoctor of Philosophyen
cam.supervisorAllen, Edward

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