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Modernism (early 20th c.): breaks with artistic traditions and conventions, experimentation with time the experiment becomes conventional countereffect:

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Presentation on theme: "Modernism (early 20th c.): breaks with artistic traditions and conventions, experimentation with time the experiment becomes conventional countereffect:"— Presentation transcript:

1 modernism (early 20th c.): breaks with artistic traditions and conventions, experimentation with time the experiment becomes conventional countereffect: pre-modernist writing reshaped cf. Fowles (pastiche, invention) No clear barrier between modernism and post-modernism (cultural history: palimpsest)

2 Fact or fiction? Hayden White: history is a narrative historians create / reveal the connections among events common features of history and fiction

3 Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie (b. 19 June 1947) अहमद सलम न र शदी احمد سلمان رشدی

4 Salman Rushdie born in Bombay (Mumbai), on 19 June, 1947 in a Muslim family of Kashmiri descent both him and his father were educated in Cambridge worked for advertising agencies before becoming a full time writer 1981: success of Midnight’s Children 1989: Khomeini’s fatwa for Satanic Verses (2,8 m USD) failed assassination attempts (Paddington bombing), hiding diplomatic tension with Iran 2007: knighthood in popular culture: U2, Bridget Jones’s Diary, 4th wife model/actress Padma Lakshmi movie version of Midnight’s Children (dir: Deepa Mehta) released in 2012

5 Grimus (1975) Midnight's Children (1981) Shame (1983) The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey (1987) The Satanic Verses (1988) Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1990) Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism, 1981–1991 (1992) Homeless by Choice (1992, with R. Jhabvala and V. S. Naipaul) East, West (1994) The Moor's Last Sigh (1995) The Ground Beneath Her Feet (1999) Fury (2001) Shalimar the Clown (2005) The Enchantress of Florence (2008) Luka and the Fire of Life (2010) Joseph Anton: A Memoir (2012)

6 India not present in English (Victorian) literature all aspects of English life – accept that it is an empire exception: Rudyard Kipling cf. Peter Walsh in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway E. M. Forster: A Passage to India (1924) since mid-20th c.: English literature -> literature(s) in English plurality of writings post-colonial literature: shift from centre to periphery ”pressures on culture from the imperium” (Edward Said) orientalism: discourse of West about the East, an instrument of power, ”a kind of Western projection onto and will to govern over the Orient” (Orientalism, 1978)

7 Rushdie: authentical oriental (?) [Aadam Aziz in Heidelberg] ”learned that India – like radium – had been ‘discovered’ by the Europeans […] he was somehow the invention of their ancestors” ‘Taj Mahal was falling down until an Englishman bothered to see to it.’ Bombay, where I grew up, was a city in which the West was totally mixed up with the East. The accidents of my life have given me the ability to make stories in which different parts of the world are brought together, sometimes harmoniously, sometimes in conflict, and sometimes both—usually both. Jack Livings, Interview with Salman Rushdie magical realism only couleur locale ?

8 Midnight’s Children (1981) story of independent India and Pakistan and the life of narrator Saleem Sinai born at midnight, August 15, 1947, simultaneously with the independence of his country; events of Saleem’s life coincide with major historical events on the subcontinent (wars, state of emergency under Indira Gandhi); story of Saleem’s family from 1915 to 1947 to 1978 with disruption and restoration of straight line of succession (Saleem a changeling, his bastard son, Aadam Sinai, by Major Shiva, “true great-grandson of his great-grandfather”)

9 physical disintegration of Saleem (loss of hair, finger, memory, virility) and the disintegration of India cf. the fragmented nature of Aadam’s learning his future wife’s body through the hole in the sheet later: Amina learning to love his husband ‘At this rate there will always be something fresh about him to love; so our marriage just can’t go stale.’

10 betrayal: history of independent India is a betrayal of hopes and expectations; Saleem’s betrayal of his generation various infidelities within the families form: pattern of Arabian Nights (Saleem-Padma: Scheherazade-King Shahryar); the fantastic and the grotesque: Saleem’s ability to communicate with all the midnight’s children; Reverend Mother dreaming others’ dreams political events summed up at almost journalistic level

11 Memory and its failures Understanding and its failures storytelling: narration problematised – Padma ‘…by day among the picklevats, by night within these sheets, I spend my time at the great work of preserving. Memory, as well as fruit, is being saved from the corruption of the clock.’

12 ‘But here is Padma at my elbow, bullying me back into the world of linear narrative, the universe of what- happened-next: ”At this rate” – Padma complains – ”you’ll be two hundred years old before you manage to tell about your birth.” pressures of ‘what-happened-nextism’ ‘Padma has started getting irritated whenever my narration becomes self-conscious, whenever, like an incompetent puppeteer, I reveal the hands holding the strings.’ (cf. Fowles)

13 David Lodge on Magic Realism When marvelous and impossible events occur in what otherwise purports to be a realistic narrative […] All of these writers have lived through great historical convulsions and wrenching personal upheavals, which they feel cannot be adequately represented in a discourse of undisturbed realism. David Lodge, The Art of Fiction (1992) G. García Márquez: Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) Jorge Amado: Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands (1966) implication: history itself may be a form of fiction (cf. Hayden White)

14 religion India: Hindu and Muslim (Christian minority) ‘…he was caught in a strange middle ground, trapped between belief and disbelief […] And he was knocked forever into that middle place, unable to worship a God in whose existence he could not wholly disbelieve.’ ‘and as he aged and the world became less real he began to doubt his own beliefs, so that by the time he saw the God in whom he had never been able to believe or disbelieve, he was probably expecting to do so.’ in modernism: existential crisis in postmodernism: playfulnes with anything, condition of doubt denial of the existence of the sacred (vs. profane) typical trouble in the communication between west & east

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