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Taking cues from Walter Benjamin’s fragmentary writings on literary-historical method, Late Colonial Sublime reconstellates the dialectic of Enlightenment across a wide imperial geography, with special focus on the fashioning of neo-epics in Hindi and Urdu literary cultures in British India. Working through the limits of both Marxism and postcolonial critique, this book forges an innovative approach to the question of late romanticism and grounds categories such as the sublime within the dynamic of commodification. While G. S. Sahota takes canonical European critics such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to the outskirts of empire, he reads Indian writers such as Muhammad Iqbal and Jayashankar Prasad in light of the expansion of instrumental rationality and the neotraditional critiques of the West it spurred at the onset of decolonization.
By bringing together distinct literary canons—both metropolitan and colonial, hegemonic and subaltern, Western and Eastern, all of which took shape upon the common realities of imperial capitalism—Late Colonial Sublime takes an original dialectical approach. It experiments with fragments, parallaxes, and constellational form to explore the aporias of modernity as well as the possible futures they may signal in our midst. A bold intervention into contemporary debates that synthesizes a wealth of sources, this book will interest readers and scholars in world literature, critical theory, postcolonial criticism, and South Asian studies.
About the Author
G. S. SAHOTA is an associate professor in the Department of Literature at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
"This is an ambitious and erudite work that I find very original, and also very unusual in an inviting sense. It crosses the fields of postcolonial theory, South Asian studies, German studies, and aesthetic theory, and the explosive potential of some of its propositions (on neo-epic form, for instance) are what make it so inviting. I would recommend this book because of its originality, and what it uniquely offers to scholars in these fields." —Timothy Brennan, author of Borrowed Light, Vol. I: Vico, Hegel and the Colonies
"G. S. Sahota’s book is a brilliant intervention in the literary and cultural history of modern South Asia, with some forays into aspects of the Japanese Romantic school and modern Chinese visual culture. Its focus on the neo-epic in India in the modern period is a welcome corrective to the privileging of the novel in discussions of modern Indian literary culture . . . essential reading for advanced students of both modern Indian literature and world literature." —Javed Majeed, Journal of Urdu Studies