Editorial, Volume2, Number 2, 2016

I am pleased to present the third issue of Spring Magazine on English Literature.

The current issue with which we greet the New Year was a tad difficult to compile; however, it was a welcome headache and heartache as we had over hundred articles to choose from.  Most of them were interesting; but, keeping with the policy of the Magazine, we limited ourselves to articles that either present a novel reading of canonical literary texts or a study of hitherto unexplored yet significant texts. Due to this, we had to leave out many essays that we would have loved to include. But at the same time, we have to point out that the response was heartening as it showed that there is an overwhelming need for such a magazine.

The current selection is something that we are rightly proud of as an interesting array of articles greets the reader in this issue — dealing with diverse topics ranging from classical theories of drama to a reading of one of the modern masters of literature Salman Rushdie, and include essays as varied as an analysis of reworking of the Mahabarata and a study of postmodern masculinities. Apart from these, the issue also has the regular features, i.e. Closet Classics, Book Reviews, and Creative writings by young enthusiasts.

The aim of this issue, as with the Magazine as a whole, is to help students of all ages of English literature, and we think that we have succeeded in this endeavour. I hope that you will enjoy reading the issue and that it will interest, delight, and hopefully enlighten.

I sincerely thank all the contributors as well as the editorial team for their efforts, and the support and encouragement of the readers — and hope that your love for the magazine will remain the same in future as well.

Any suggestions and comments are welcome.

Please do write to us at chiefeditor@springmagazine.net.

Dr. KBS Krishna

Editor-in-Chief

Poem: Mrs. Bennet

Priyanka Ruth Prim

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

Mrs. Bennet
Courses one or courses four
Wondering what to serve at home,
Guests are mighty, rich and young
Must practice one’s silver-tongue.

Living of five thousand a year
Gained for one, a daughter dear,
Ease of heart, what rewards fine
Horse and carriage, ball and dine.

Book Review: Shweta Mishra’s What is a Woman: This is Trash. Leave It

Sapna Dogra

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

Shweta Mishra, What is a Woman: This is Trash. Leave It. Authorspress, Delhi. 2016. Pages: 138. Price: 395 INR

Living in a world where academicians use subtle language to be politely dismissive of issues, it is a wonderful experience to read a work where the writer does not mince her words, avoid clichés and honestly and bluntly speaks her mind.

This is Shweta Mishra’s maiden venture into creative writing. The book under review consists of chapters in the form of letters written to God, each letter further followed by writer’s reflection on various issues. While reading this book, I was instantly reminded of Afro-American Alice Walker’s epistolary womanist novel The Colour Purple where the central character Celie writes letters to God. The blurb tells us that a lecturer by profession Shweta has done her doctoral work on African American women writers. She dedicates this book to “all the girls raped, prostitutes, to every woman who has ever suffered lustful male gaze, and to every man who has understood the meaning of true love and has with true devotion and honesty loved a woman in his life.”

Book Review: Looking Back in Nostalgia: Review of I. H-Shihan’s Anglo-Indian Fiction: A Brief Outline

Reviewed by Ayusman Chakraborty

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

I.H-Shihan, Anglo-Indian Fiction: A Brief Outline. Power Publishers, Kolkata, 2016. Pages: 363. Paperback Price: 555 INR.

Dr Imam Hosen’s [pen name I. H-Shihan] Anglo-Indian Fiction: A Brief Outline is a book that has been much awaited. With the growth of interest in Anglo-Indian Literature since the 1980s, the need for an introductory text book of this kind was strongly felt. It is true that scholarly works focusing on different aspects of Anglo-Indian novels or prose-fictions have been abundant: but no other contemporary work except H-Shihan’s has considered Anglo-Indian prose fiction in its entirety. H-Shihan’s book is not a scholarly exposition that addresses the informed reader. Primarily, it is meant for beginners. If not for anything else, the book earns its laurels for the large quantity of information it provides. With this book in hand, students are sure to find a ready reference to Anglo-Indian novelists and their works as and when required.

Closet Classics: Joseph Anton: an Essential Companion to Understanding Rushdie

Balwant Bhaneja

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

A couple of generations from now when Salman Rushdie’s name will be mentioned, it will remind people of the controversy that his novel The Satanic Verses generated in the 1990s. The storm over the book, that it blasphemed Islam led to a decade long fatwa on this Indo-British author’s head by the Iranian theocratic regime. The book was banned in many countries. While Rushdie was on the run, in hiding from his opponents, the novel’s Japanese translator Hitoshi Igarashi was murdered by a fatwa supporter at the University of Tsukuba near Tokyo.  

Does Canon hinder Reading Habit?: An Analysis

Sumi Bora

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

The dwindling interest among contemporary students to love literature and appreciate its manifold nuances is a serious concern amidst academic communities. Most students opting for literature read the prescribed texts only to clear examinations and, such an approach may be termed as “use and forget” syndrome because students easily forget what they read once exams are over. Recently the researcher conducted a survey in some of the colleges of Assam and interacted with the student community in an amicable ambience where different facets of the malady were unraveled. The present paper is based on the survey because one of the primary issues which emerged during the interactive sessions was the issue of censorship and how the students felt that their literary freedom was throttled by the existing syllabus of the university which at times forced them to read “uninteresting” texts. They felt that if they had but the power they would have changed the syllabus and included “interesting” texts with which they could connect themselves. In the innocuous responses of the students apart from censorship a host of other issues like canon formation, the future of the book, popular literature, attractive marketing strategy to promote a book, right of the reader etc. came to the foreground and made the exercise an enabling one. This made the researcher realize that the basic thing at stake was academic freedom and if it is not exigent to negotiate between the academic and the non-academic world of the students, at least to be critical about the patronizing attitude of stewardship and keep their vibes in mind before syllabus planning.

Some Notes towards Postmodern Masculine Subjectivities

Suraj Gunwant & Rashmi Gaur

 Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

The notion of postmodern masculine subjectivities implies the existence of a modern masculine subject which the post in postmodern has superseded. In order to construct a framework for masculinity in the postmodern, of how we can think about masculinity ‘now’, it is imperative to sketch an outline of the epistemology of the subject which remained dominant in the modern period, because the developments in the formulations of the subject over time in philosophy allow us to imagine and conceptualize the complexity of masculinity in ways that are counterintuitive. So the question to be asked here is: what are the ways in which subjectivities were conceived and constituted in the modern world that could not sustain themselves in the world after the demise of Enlightenment ideas and ideals? How did we think about consciousness, its capacities and limitations in modernity and what happens to that in postmodernity? 

Lo(k)calizing the Epic: Integration of the Folk As a Device in Sarala’s Mahabharata

Anand Mahanand

 Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

The context in which Sarala Das wrote the Mahabharata is an important subject to discuss to understand the device of localization. Before he wrote his Mahbharata, the Vyasa Mahabharata was in place. As we know, even before Vyasa wrote his Sanskrit Mahabharata, it was in oral form.  People would recite the Mahabharata orally. In other words, it existed in people’s memory and also in different communities. Vyasa wrote it in Sanskrit. Before Sarala Das, Vyasa Mahabharata was read and discussed primarily by the Brahmin class who had a monopoly over the discourse of Mahabharata. Sarala Das might have read /heard the Vyasa Mahabharata. He decided to write his Mahabharata as he was inspired by Devi Sarala. This was a bold step because he broke the tradition by writing the text in “other” language.  He also subverted the Mahabharata in different ways. Critics like Satyabrata Das have already discussed this point in their scholarly works. Since Sarala Das said that he was inspired and wrote what he was directed, he was spared by the aggressive pundits. This was perhaps a strategy to defend his act of subversion: “Sree Sarala Chandinkara sada ate dasa/ Agnyare mu shasrta kichhi karichhi abhyasa/ Se jaha kahanti angya mu taha lekhai/ Apandita murkha mora sastra gyna nahi” (Virata Parba).

Aijaz Ahmad and Narrativizing Indian Literary Cultures

Girija Suri

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

Aijaz Ahmad’s highly influential essay “‘Indian Literature’: Notes towards the Definition of a Category” was first published as a chapter in his seminal book In Theory: Classes, Nations, Literatures (1992). Many of the essays published in this book, notably “Jameson’s Rhetoric of Otherness and the “National Allegory””, “Salman Rushdie’s Shame: Postmodern Migrancy and the Representation of Women” and “Orientalism and After: Ambivalence and Metropolitan Location in the Work of Edward Said” were first published in various reputed journals. By Ahmad’s own admission, the chapter- “Indian Literature” too has its basis in seminar presentations held at Delhi University and Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1988.[i] Ahmad’s essay is concerned with several issues of importance pertaining to the unwieldy category of Indian literature. Ahmad discusses theoretical and institutional problems encountered while talking of a separate entity such as ‘Indian Literature’. The essay is written from a purely Marxist perspective as is typical of his other writings too, constantly making a case for reading texts in their materiality and resisting their appropriation by dominant and hegemonic discourses. Ahmad ultimately posits several methodologies that could be effectively followed to define the scope and characteristics of what could be authentically termed as ‘Indian Literature’.

In Search of Self: the Pangs of Identity in Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children

Punyashree Panda

Spring Magazine on English Literature, (E-ISSN: 2455-4715), Vol. II, No. 2, 2016

“How rich our mutability, how easily we change (and are changed) from one thing to another, how unstable our place – and all because of the missing foundation of our existence, the lost ground of our origin, the broken link with our land and our past.” Edward Said (After the Last Sky, 1986)

Though the contemporary world is being looked at as a post-racial, post-national, and post-colonial world, there are moments from the history of the Indian subcontinent that are coming back to haunt us. Memory is no more an individual’s psychic visit to the past; rather, it is from a collective memory that the nation is made out of a geographical space. In India, as in many other countries of the world, the rise of the fascist, fundamentalist, and rightist forces are creating major upheavals in the contemporary society. On the contrary, the advocates of globalization and multiculturalism are hailing the contemporary world as the best human history has witnessed yet. In such a bi-polar world, the “self” is suffering from a continuous pang of identity or the lack of it. Identities, like maps of the day, are becoming more and more elastic and lucid. How does such a perspective impact the literature of the age, especially literature that deals with a collective trauma from the past and is yet burdened with revealing the contemporary self’s dilemma of belonging?