Thursday, November 14, 2013

Anglophone Indian Women Writers, 1870-1920

By Ellen Brinks

Ellen Brinks examines the Anglophone literary works of Toru Dutt, Krupabai Satthianadhan, Pandita Ramabai, Cornelia Sorabji, and Saroini Naidu, women deeply rooted in and connected to both South Asian and British cultures who found large audiences in the West and in India in their public roles as writers, reformers, activists, and cultural translators. The received narrative that British imperialism in India was perpetuated with little or no cultural contact between the colonizers and the colonized population is complicated by all five women's professional and personal lives.

Brinks’s close readings of these texts suggest new ways of reading a range of issues central to nineteenth-century transnational and postcolonial studies: the relationship of colonized women to the metropolitan (literary) culture; Indian and English women’s separate and joint engagements in reformist and nationalist struggles; the “translatability” of culture; the articulation strategies and complex negotiations of self-identification of Anglophone Indian women writers; and the significance and place of cultural difference. Informed by extensive archival research, Brinks’s close readings of their works suggest new ways of understanding late nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century English-language literary history, women's history, and the history of empire.

Available through Ashgate

Sunday, November 10, 2013

After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind

Edited by Angelique Richardson

“What is emotion?” pondered the young Charles Darwin in his notebooks. How were the emotions to be placed in an evolutionary framework? And what light might they shed on human-animal continuities? These were among the questions Darwin explored in his research, assisted both by an acute sense of observation and an extraordinary capacity for fellow feeling, not only with humans but with all animal life. After Darwin: Animals, Emotions, and the Mind explores questions of mind, emotion and the moral sense which Darwin opened up through his research on the physical expression of emotions and the human–animal relation. It also examines the extent to which Darwin’s ideas were taken up by Victorian writers and popular culture, from George Eliot to the Daily News. Bringing together scholars from biology, literature, history, psychology, psychiatry and paediatrics, the volume provides an invaluable reassessment of Darwin’s contribution to a new understanding of the moral sense and emotional life, and considers the urgent scientific and ethical implications of his ideas today.

Copies are available for purchase through Rodopi and Amazon

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Wilkie Collins and Copyright: Artistic Ownership in the Age of the Borderless Word

By Sundeep Bisla

In the works and letters of his later years, Wilkie Collins continually expressed his displeasure over copyright violations. Wilkie Collins and Copyright: Artistic Ownership in the Age of the Borderless Word by Sundeep Bisla asks whether that discontent might not also have affected the composition of Collins’s major early works of the 1850s and 60s. Bisla’s investigation into this question, surprisingly, does not find an uncomplicated author uncomplicatedly launched on a defense of what he believes to be rightfully his. Instead, Bisla finds an author locked in fierce negotiation with the theoretical underpinnings of his medium, the written word, underpinnings best delineated by the twentieth-century deconstructionist Jacques Derrida. Collins’s discomfort with copyright violation comes to be in tension with his budding understanding of the paradoxical nature of the “iterability” of the word, a nature presenting itself as a conflict between the settling and breaking manifestations of linguistic repetition. In his efforts at resolving this paradox, Collins adopts a mechanism of recursive self-reflexivity through which each story reflects upon itself to a more fundamental extent than had its predecessor. This self-reflexive exploration has significant consequences for the author’s own iterability-menaced subjectivity, a striking example of which can be seen in the fact that the name being sought in Collins’s last masterpiece, The Moonstone, will end up being “MY OWN NAME”—in other words, “WILKIE COLLINS.”

Wilkie Collins and Copyright is an elegant, intelligent, and impressive work. It is certain to be considered an important, perhaps even classic, Collins study. Sundeep Bisla is an impeccable researcher and beautiful writer. He provides a fresh interpretation of Collins as a novelist whose highly self-conscious efforts to manipulate language are set against the background of the particular material conditions for Victorian authorship, especially those governing copyright.” —Lauren M. E. Goodlad, author of The Victorian Geopolitical Aesthetic: Realism, Sovereignty and Transnational Experience.

Available for purchase from Amazon and Ohio State University Press