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  • © 2021

Writing Ocean Worlds

Indian Ocean Fiction in English

Palgrave Macmillan

Authors:

  • First full-length study to explore the question of broad literary Indian Ocean continuities and differences

  • Focuses on novelists Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, Lindsey Collen and Joseph Conrad

  • Examines the intersection of oceanic and maritime studies with postcolonial literature

Part of the book series: New Comparisons in World Literature (NCWL)

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eBook USD 89.00
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  • ISBN: 978-3-030-87116-1
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Table of contents (6 chapters)

  1. Front Matter

    Pages i-xv
  2. Joseph Conrad’s Imperial Indian Ocean

    • Charne Lavery
    Pages 21-56
  3. Amitav Ghosh’s Subaltern Sea Histories

    • Charne Lavery
    Pages 57-89
  4. Abdulrazak Gurnah’s African Ocean

    • Charne Lavery
    Pages 91-125
  5. Lindsey Collen’s Oceanic Feminisms

    • Charne Lavery
    Pages 127-161
  6. Towards a Planetary Sea—Conclusion

    • Charne Lavery
    Pages 163-170
  7. Back Matter

    Pages 171-178

About this book

This book explores the Indian Ocean world as it is produced by colonial and postcolonial fiction in English. It analyses the work of three contemporary authors who write the Indian Ocean as a region and world—Amitav Ghosh, Abdulrazak Gurnah, and Lindsey Collen—alongside maritime-imperial precursor Joseph Conrad.  If postcolonial literatures are sometimes read as national allegories, this book presents an account of a different and significant strand of postcolonial fiction whose geography, in contrast, is coastal and transoceanic. This work imaginatively links east Africa, south Asia and the Arab world via a network of south-south connections that precedes and survives European imperialism. The novels and stories provide a vivid, storied sense of place on both a local and an oceanic scale, and in so doing remap the world as having its centre in the ocean and the south.

Charne Lavery is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria and Research Fellow on the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South project based at WISER, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Keywords

  • Novel
  • Literature and Postcolonial Studies
  • Literature and the Environment
  • East Asia
  • South Asia
  • Arab coast
  • African coast
  • globalization
  • Global South
  • modernity
  • maritime studies
  • oceanic humanities
  • port cities
  • mobility
  • travel literature

Reviews

“In her dazzling study, Lavery incontrovertibly inserts the Indian Ocean as a robust imaginary space that must be reckoned with in the world-system of modern fiction. With a keen knowledge of climates, cultures, and histories, Lavery draws together contemporary authors, notably Gurnah, Ghosh, and Collen, reaching back as well to Conrad and Melville, to show how they bring to life the far-flung networks of the Indian Ocean, their inhabitants, and the tangled, unsettling emotions accompanying travel, transport and exchange across this vast and diverse space. Enriching as well debates on such current critical topics as intersectional identity, multilingual poetics, and the located history of the senses, Writing Ocean Worlds is essential reading for novel scholars and for all interested in globalization and the maritime realm.”

--Margaret Cohen, Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French Language, Literature, and Civilization, Stanford University, USA

  

"This is the Indian Ocean book we’ve all been waiting for. In the silkiest of prose, Lavery creates a shimmering re-configuration of anglophone novels on the Indian Ocean. This study revisits the cardinal points of debates on the novel and world literature, radiating insights like a dazzling compass rose."

--Isabel Hofmeyr, Global Distinguished Professor, NYU, USA, and Professor of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

 

“Charne Lavery’s work is an invaluable addition to the growing corpus of work on space production and cultural representation. By examining the work of major contemporary writers – Ghosh, Gurnah and Collen – the work offers a rare understanding of connected histories that bear the potential of re-centering the Indian Ocean world and of interrogating received assumptions.”

--Lakshmi Subramanian, Professor of History, HSS BITS, Pilani, Goa, India


“Charne Lavery’s path-opening book offers the first extended study of how the Indian Ocean has been composed as world in literary works produced and set around its basin. In so doing, it presents vital new understandings of how this oceanic world harbours alternative modernities and opens to non-Eurocentric futures while shifting the domain of world literary attention offshore and southwards.”

--Meg Samuelson, Associate Professor in the Department of English, Creative Writing & Film, University of Adelaide, Australia

 

“Through vivid and nuanced close readings of a range of novels, this book explores the Indian Ocean as a distinct literary geography. Alert to debates that are shaping critical approaches to fictions in English, it also offers a significant contribution to our understanding of world literatures.”

--Stephanie Jones, Associate Professor of English, University of Southampton, UK

Authors and Affiliations

  • Department of English, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

    Charne Lavery

About the author

Charne Lavery is a Lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Pretoria and Research Fellow on the Oceanic Humanities for the Global South project based at WISER, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Bibliographic Information

Buying options

eBook USD 89.00
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • ISBN: 978-3-030-87116-1
  • Instant PDF download
  • Readable on all devices
  • Own it forever
  • Exclusive offer for individuals only
  • Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout
Hardcover Book USD 119.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)