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The Hour of Ribeyro

The Hour of Ribeyro

From time to time, over the many pages and years of his journals, Julio Ramón Ribeyro reflects with a certain melancholy on his inability to write those massive all-encompassing...

Ribeyro – a short story

Ribeyro – a short story

I had just sat down in a train going to London when I heard a muffled ding and knew an email had come in. It was from Pankaj Mishra: he had sent me a link...

SYMPOSIUM 3 : REASSESSMENTS

Symposium 2 : Deprofessionalisation

Symposium 1 : Literary Activism

Reassessments: Mission Statement

Reassessments: Mission Statement

Literary and intellectual history is neither an evolution nor a linear movement. It’s a narrative of stops and starts, mainly because it’s shaped by, and dependent on...

Beyond Eurocentrism and Anti-Eurocentrism

Beyond Eurocentrism and Anti-Eurocentrism

My two-volume book, Europe: A Philosophical History (Routledge, 2021), explores the vicissitudes of the modern European idea of Europe’s exemplary modernity...

<em>Madame Bovary</em> and the Impossibility of Re-reading

Madame Bovary and the Impossibility of Re-reading

The first time I read Madame Bovary I was fourteen or fifteen. My family lived in England; at school I was learning French. Denise King, my French teacher, lent me her copy of the book...

Reshma Aquil of Daryabad

Reshma Aquil of Daryabad

There are, in India, two kinds of criticism. The first kind is criticism as unconsidered praise, in which the writer, having done little more than give documentary confirmation...

A Perpetual Problem

A Perpetual Problem

I was at the Museum of Modern Art, looking at their Surrealism collection. I'm not sure how long it took me to notice there were no women in it...

Academic Dreaming

Academic Dreaming

I have lived my life half in this world, half out of it. Hours, weeks, by now it must be years, have been spent in imagined elsewheres. Sometimes these other worlds have been invented by me—although 'invented' seems too deliberate a word. I daydream.

<em>Until the Lions</em>: Of Myths and Men

Until the Lions: Of Myths and Men

When I was nine, my father overheard me bragging to friends, children of his colleagues in the army. Though he had not been injured in battle, he had fought in all three wars India had waged in the 1960s and 70s

The Treacherous Modern

The Treacherous Modern

Must the earliest experience of artistic representation be such a menagerie of the senses? “When you wet the bed first it is warm then it gets cold.”

Possible, not Alternative, Histories

Possible, not Alternative, Histories

I’m looking back at the title to remind myself of what it is. ‘Possible, not Alternative, Histories’. I want to do something here that’s reckless because it’s very ambitious.

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

The Hour of Ribeyro

The Hour of Ribeyro

From time to time, over the many pages and years of his journals, Julio Ramón Ribeyro reflects with a certain melancholy on his inability to write those massive all-encompassing...

Ribeyro – a short story

Ribeyro – a short story

I had just sat down in a train going to London when I heard a muffled ding and knew an email had come in. It was from Pankaj Mishra: he had sent me a link...

‘Calcutta is a Great Gallery’: chaloman shilpa andolan, or The Dynamic Art Movement

‘Calcutta is a Great Gallery’: chaloman shilpa andolan, or The Dynamic Art Movement

The year was 1970 – the Naxalite movement was ebbing in Calcutta. I left my home in College Street for Tripura: a kind of exile.

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