Beyond national literatures: Empire and Amitav Ghosh
Maxey, Ruth (2016) Beyond national literatures: Empire and Amitav Ghosh. In: The Cambridge History of Asian American Literature. Cambridge University Press, pp. 567-582. ISBN 9781107053953
Official URL: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/the-cambridge-history-of-asian-american-literature/79B3EC38CFAE524B2ECA286AEBDB056F
Scholarship on the writer Amitav Ghosh has addressed issues of nationalism, postcolonial identity, ecocriticism, testimony, subalternity, and historiography. But the idea of Ghosh as an Asian American author with a particular relationship to the United States and its national mythologies, has barely been considered. In this essay, I explore this neglected aspect of Ghosh’s œuvre by looking at the idea of America in his writing and by situating his work within what I term "the Bengali American grain". Reading his work alongside that of other Bengali American writers and arguing that it is more ambitious thematically and more anti-imperialistic, I probe Ghosh’s problematic relationship with the United States, asking how his hemispheric writing continues to extend and even alter the terrain often associated with Asian American literature.
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