Demon-Lovers and Holy Mothers: Heat and Dust

  • Laurie Sucher
Chapter

Abstract

Heat and Dust (1975) is at the time of writing probably Jhabvala’s best-known novel; it has been available in a paperback edition ever since the appearance of the film version of the novel in 1977. It contains Jhabvala’s most characteristic techniques — filmic flashback, using a combination of first- and third-person narrative, and themes — the dangers of sexual passion, Westerners in India, heterosexual women in relation to homosexual men. Again, the work is constructed, magically, it seems, on the fine line between the comic and the tragic. The two factors of the novel’s availability and its centrality, I offer to justify the disproportionate amount of space that it occupies in this study. In fact, it is a rather short novel, almost a novella, and its spare, compressed prose has almost the effect of poetry, reverberating with meanings and significations that seem to lie just beneath the surface — another quality that may explain my fascination with it.

Keywords

Dust Flare Ghost Infertility Dispatch 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    James Ivory, Autobiography of a Princess: Also Being the Adventures of an American Film Director in the Land of the Maharajas (New York: Harper & Row, 1975) p. 36.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, ‘India, Inc.: Hullabaloo Over Merchant-Ivory Pictures’, Harpers, March 1982, p. 67.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Raphael Patai, The Hebrew Goddess (New York: Avon Books, 1978) p. 183.Google Scholar
  4. See Elizabeth Fisher, Woman’s Creation: Sexual Evolution and the Shaping of Society (New York: McGraw Hill, 1979) p. 297.Google Scholar
  5. 4.
    J. S. Mill and Harriet Taylor, The Subjection of Women (London, 1869).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 5.
    John Updike, review of Heat and Dust in the New Yorker, 5 July 1976.Google Scholar
  7. 6.
    My summary follows R. J. Furbank’s in Forster: A Life, 2 vols (London: Secker & Warburg, 1978) vol. II, p. 68ff.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    This point is made by R. J. Cronin, ‘The Hill of Devi and Heat and Dust’, Essays in Criticism, 36 (April 1986) pp. 142–59.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Yasmine Gooneratne, Silence, Exile and Cunning: The Fiction of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1983) pp. 222, 223, 224.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    in Vasant Shahane, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala (New Delhi: Heinemann, 1976) ch. 4, pp. 129–41.Google Scholar
  11. 12.
    Dorothy K. Stein, ‘Women to Burn: Suttee as a Normative Institution’ (Signs 4, no. 2 [Winter 1978], p. 255).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 13.
    Colonel Sleeman’s Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official (1844)Google Scholar
  13. is cited in Shirley Chew, ‘Fictions of Princely States and Empire’, Ariel, 17 (July 1986) pp. 103–16.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    from D. N. Majumdar, Caste and Communication in an Indian Village (Bombay, 1961);Google Scholar
  15. quoted in Ronald Segal, The Anguish of India (New York: Stein & Day, 1965) p. 161Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Gita Mehta gives some horrible examples in Karma Cola: Marketing the Mystic East (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1979) p. 160.Google Scholar
  17. 18.
    Kate Millett makes the point that they also serve to parody these roles. See her Sexual Politics (New York: Doubleday, 1970) p. 447.Google Scholar
  18. 20.
    The 1927 description by a British physician is quoted in Nora Mitchell, The Indian Hill-Station, University of Chicago: Department of Geography, Research Paper no. 141 (1972).Google Scholar
  19. 21.
    David G. Mandelbaum, Society in India, I: Continuity and Change (Berkeley, Cal.: University of California Press, 1970) p. 9.Google Scholar
  20. 22.
    Richard Nyrop et al., Area Handbook for India, 3rd edn (Washington, D.C., 1975) p. 201.Google Scholar
  21. 24.
    Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar, The Madwoman in the Attic (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979).Google Scholar
  22. 25.
    V. S. Naipaul, An Area of Darkness (New York: Macmillan, 1964) p. 68.Google Scholar
  23. 26.
    E. M. Forster, A Passage to India (London: Edward Arnold, 1924; rpt. London: J. M. Dent, 1957) p. 219.Google Scholar
  24. 32.
    E. M. Forster, The Hill of Devi (1953);Google Scholar
  25. reprinted in The Abinger Edition of E. M. Forster, vol. 14, ed. Elizabeth Heine (London: Edward Arnold, 1983).Google Scholar
  26. 39.
    Richard Cronin, ‘The Hill of Devi and Heat and Dust’, Essays in Criticism, 36 (April 1986) p. 154.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Laurie Sucher 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurie Sucher

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations