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Postcolonial Servitude - Domestic Servants in Global South Asian English Literature

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  • 2024

  • Engelsk

Postcolonial Servitude explores how a new generation of contemporary global, transnational, award-winning writers with origins in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh engages with the complexities of domestic servitude as a problem for the nation and for the novel. Servitude, to be distinguished from slavery, is a distinctive and pervasive phenomenon in South Asia, with a long history. Unprotected by labor laws, subject to exploitation and dehumanization, members of the lower classes provide essential services to employers whose homes become the servants'' workplace. South Asian literature has always featured servants, usually as marginal or instrumental. This book focuses on writers who make servants and servitude central, and craft new narrative forms to achieve their goals. Identifying a blind spot in contemporary postcolonial studies, this is the first full-length study to focus on domestic servants in Anglophone postcolonial or South Asian literature and to examine their political, thematic, and formal significance.Offering fresh readings of well-known early to mid-20th-century writers, this book shows how South Asian English fiction conventionally keeps servants in the background, peripheral but necessary to the constitution of an elite or middle class. It analyses closely the formal strategies, interventions, and modes of representation of five younger writers (Daniyal Mueenuddin, Romesh Gunesekera, Aravind Adiga, Thrity Umrigar, and Kiran Desai), who, it argues, pull servants and servitude into the foreground, humanizing servants as protagonists with agency, complex subjectivities, and stories of their own. Postcolonial Servitude reveals a cultural shift in the twenty-first century postcolonial novel, a new attentiveness, self-implication, and ethics, linked with a new poetics.

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Forventes i salg 20.04.2024.

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