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Arun Kolatkar and Literary Modernism in India: Moving Lines - Historicizing Modernism (Hardback)
  • Arun Kolatkar and Literary Modernism in India: Moving Lines - Historicizing Modernism (Hardback)

Arun Kolatkar and Literary Modernism in India: Moving Lines - Historicizing Modernism (Hardback)

Hardback 248 Pages / Published: 31/07/2014
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In this first scholarly work on India's great modern poet, Laetitia Zecchini outlines a story of literary modernism in India and discusses the traditions, figures and events that inspired and defined Arun Kolatkar. Based on an impressive range of archival and unpublished material, this book also aims at moving lines of accepted genealogies of modernism and `postcolonial literature'. Zecchini uncovers how poets of Kolatkar's generation became modern Indian writers while tracing a lineage to medieval oral traditions. She considers how literary bilingualism allowed Kolatkar to blur the boundaries between Marathi and English, `Indian' and `Western sources; how he used his outsider position to privilege the quotidian and minor and revived the spirit of popular devotion. Graphic artist, poet and songwriter, storyteller of Bombay and world history, poet in Marathi, in English and in `Americanese', non-committal and deeply political, Kolatkar made lines wobble and treasured impermanence. Steeped in world literature, in European avant-garde poetry, American pop and folk culture, in a `little magazine' Bombay bohemia and a specific Marathi ethos, Kolatkar makes for a fascinating subject to explore and explain the story of modernism in India. This book has received support from the labex TransferS:

Publisher: Continuum Publishing Corporation
ISBN: 9781441167507
Number of pages: 248
Weight: 526 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 20 mm

This is a powerful and energetic reading of an author whose work invites series consideration. * Times Literary Supplement *
[Zecchini's] careful analysis of Kolatkar's life and work, her deep understanding of the history of the arts, combined with the reminiscences of the other Bombay poets ... recorded here give this book its authoritative weight. * The Sunday Guardian, India *
Laetitia Zecchini's Arun Kolatkar and Literary Modernism in India: Moving Lines highlights an exciting set of ideas that have been relatively untouched in the field of postcolonial South Asian literary studies. [It] is a rich work of scholarship, relying on textual analysis as well as archival research and interviews with key players in the Bombay modernist story, including Kolatkar's widow and extended family. * Postcolonial Text *
This is the first major critical study of Arun Kolatkar, the late-twentieth century's most absurdly neglected poet. It is also a stylish, refreshingly anti-academicist example of what literary scholarship at its best and boldest can do today. By redrawing the map of `literary modernism', and encouraging us to think about the English language and its poetry in compelling new ways, Laetitia Zecchini has not only created space for Kolatkar in our times. She has given new life to the lost art of literary criticism. * Peter D. McDonald, St Hugh's College, Oxford, UK *
The book provides an intriguing example of the entangled history of literary modernism ... Elegantly written, Zecchini's compelling tribute to Arun Kolatkar and the Bombay Bohemian scene in post-independence India organically embeds sample texts which reveal their own aesthetic potential. In addition to exhaustive archival resources, the author draws on numerous anecdotes and information from Kolatkar's circle of friends and fellow poets. * International Quarterly for Asian Studies *
The book effortlessly navigates between different themes ... Zecchini's fascinating work, pulsating with the sights and sounds of a great city at a certain historical period, is about Bombay itself which evolves, like the poet, and flows as a character within the pages of the book. * Sanglap *
Laetitia Zecchini's brilliant study of Kolatkar's poetry (which is, to my knowledge, the first monograph on a postcolonial Indian poet written by a non-Indian scholar) makes significant critical inroads in the still largely unexplored territory of literary modernism in India, setting high standards for future scholarship in this field. * Modernism/modernity *
Most discussions of world literature today assume the novel as its protagonist and paint pictures of the world as either hopelessly fixed in centres and peripheries or as circulating suspended from local places. Arun Kolatkar and Literary Modernism in India gives us a strikingly different picture of literature and the world, deeply located and open to a world of voices, resolutely experimental and making contemporaries out of diverse ancestors, switching between languages and "finding poems" in snatches of multilingual conversations and everyday objects, constantly on the move without ever settling on a final word. The first monograph on one of the world's great poets who had an extraordinary oeuvre in two languages-Marathi and English-this book is also a bold critical intervention in post-colonial literature and literary modernism world-wide. As vibrant, perceptive and brimming with ideas as its subject, it brings to life the city and the transnational counter-culture that Kolatkar was so much part of. * Francesca Orsini, Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature, SOAS, London, UK. *
An exciting, readable, deeply researched, analytical study of a world-class author who was mostly unknown to those outside India until after his death, this is one of the best books about Indian literature. Presenting the first in depth portrait of Arun Kolatkar's life and works based on his writings, unpublished and previously unknown documents, and interviews with others, it illuminates the many local and international cultural and linguistic influences that for over two decades nourished Bombay's artists and writers. Besides throwing light on the roles of Kolatkar, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Dilip Chitre, and Adil Jussawalla in creating a modern Indian literature, the author shows the need for postcolonial studies focused on realities rather than assumptions. * Bruce King, author of Modern Indian Poetry in English, Three Indian Poets, and ReWriting India *
Laetitia Zecchini illuminates Arun Kolatkar's vibrant work in both local and transnational contexts. With energy and enthusiasm, she explores this marvelous poet's cosmopolitan localism and multilingual modernism, his defamiliarizing eye and all-encompassing ear. This book is a welcome contribution to our understanding of Kolatkar, of twentieth-century Indian poetry, and of transnational modernisms. * Jahan Ramazani, author of A Transnational Poetics and of Poetry and Its Others *
This pioneering book, much of it based on archival sources, is an immense feat of literary recovery and retelling. Laeittia Zecchini brings alive the world of Arun Kolatkar and his contemporaries, the first generation of post-independence poets centered in Bombay. Scholars who come after her will forever be in her debt. * Arvind Krishna Mehrotra *

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