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 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

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 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

 Against Nature
 Brian McHale

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 12, Issue 2 (June 2014) : 375-387
Love and Figure/Ground
Reading Amitav Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies
Murray Baumgarten
Rubric A: Literature and Theories of Love
Rubric B: Twentieth-Century Novel

Abstract

 

Amitav Ghosh puts the history of the individualist love ethic of the western novel into dialogue with the “oceanic” sense of identity and love in Indian cultural traditions, pitting the idea of character against that of “life-force” and the idea of individual happiness against that of communal energy.

When romantic lovers embrace in this contemporary novel set in India in 1838 — at a turning point in the history of the English Empire of opium which is being forced on a China that has outlawed the poppy, we hear echoes of the great Victorian fictions: the storm of love remakes identities as it choreographs collisions across cultural, social, and class boundaries that undermine stable social arrangements.

The potential for cross-over encounters inheres in the heteroglossia created in the novel. The “chutnification of language” echoes the love jumble, as it invites a rethinking of the past, of culture, and identities, reframing the boundaries of the language of fiction in the exploration of literary form. Are we in a dialectical or a dialogical discourse? What is the figure and what the ground in this exploration of love within cultural multiplicity?


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