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Symposium 1 : Literary Activism

Mission Statement

Mission Statement

From the mid-1990s onwards, we witnessed a convergence between literary language and the language of publishing, for it was publishers, increasingly, who told us about the ‘masterpieces’ they were publishing (the word, like the literary itself, had by then been disowned by most literature departments).

What about Criticism?

What about Criticism?

In his mission statement, Amit Chaudhuri identifies what he calls ‘market activism’ primarily with publishers and literary agents, or, perhaps more specifically, with the large publishing corporations and ‘super-agents’ who began to reshape the literary world during the early 1990s. But he also looks briefly askance at universities in order to point out an implicitly fatal coincidence.

Translation as Literary Activism

Translation as Literary Activism

I would like to evoke the extraordinary work, life, and career of the bilingual English-Marathi poet Arun Kolatkar (1931-2004) and of his generation of poets, writers, publishers, and artists who started producing their work in the 1950s and 1960s, mostly in Bombay, and which I designate here as the little magazine ‘conspiracy’.

The Piazza and the Car Park

The Piazza and the Car Park

It was 1989. I was a graduate student at Oxford. I had made little progress with my doctoral dissertation and I had written a novel that had almost, but not quite, found a publisher. One of the routes that had taken me in my fiction towards Calcutta was Irish literature – its provincialism and cosmopolitanism, its eccentricity and refinement.

The Critic as Lover

The Critic as Lover

Many years ago – in the days before email – I found myself engaged in correspondence with the postcolonial critic Benita Parry. She had visited Rutgers University, where I was teaching, and had given a paper on the fiction of J.M. Coetzee, in which I too had an interest. We had a friendly disagreement about the question of silence in Coetzee’s novels...

Market Activism: A Publisher’s Perspective

Market Activism: A Publisher’s Perspective

I am a market activist. I make no apology for that – though I may apologise for some of the unintended consequences of my activity. I’ve worked in publishing all my adult life and, for the past fifteen years or so, have managed independent publishing companies that have – to a greater or lesser extent – been engaged in the pursuit of trying to make a business out of literary activity. In this respect, I think, I am perhaps an outsider at this symposium.

Magazine: New Writing

Toward an Infrathin Reading/Writing Practice

Toward an Infrathin Reading/Writing Practice

The impetus for writing this book was an invitation I received in 2017 from Ronald Schuchard, the Director of the London T. S. Eliot Summer School, to give the annual address at Little Gidding, on the fourth of the Four Quartets, which bears that title.

Grasshopper versus Horse for the Sun

Grasshopper versus Horse for the Sun

I shall never forget that evening in my life. We had to walk nearly 5 km in the dusk to reach that little, sleepy tribal village at the foot of a hill. I, in the capacity of a facilitator, was with a group of activists working with a forest tribe, the Forest Shepherds.

A Launch Event Across Time Zones

A Launch Event Across Time Zones

This launch event for the website you’re looking at took place via Zoom (the new material reality of the pandemic) at 6 pm Indian Standard Time on 11th September 2020.

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