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Introduction: The Reception of Indian Writing in English (IWE) in the Global Literary Market

  • Om Prakash Dwivedi
  • Lisa Lau
Chapter

Abstract

Speaking at the 2014 Jaipur literary festival, British novelist Martin Amis made a sweeping comment on the meteoric success of Indian writing in English (IWE): ‘[T]he English novel was parochial in the 80s. Indian writers have given us the colour. We badly needed it.’2 Amis’s claim puts a questionmark on the whole issue of the UK’s reception of IWE as, according to him, IWE was given a warm welcome because of its ability to provide what Graham Huggan has termed ‘exotic’ features and what Francesca Orsini discusses as ‘fantastical’ writings, rather than necessarily being welcomed for its literary merit. Anis Shivani also makes a similar accusation against IWE as it is disseminated in the USA when he says that ‘American conglomerate publishing interests seem to be finding a ready supply of Indian novels in English that enact the commodification of exoticized Orientalism in global capitalist exchange’.3 The same can be applied to contemporary IWE, marketed and circulated throughout the world today. Lisa Lau rightly links this commodification of IWE, catering to Western readers, to the adoption of re-Orientalist4 strategies. The situation in terms of the Western reception of IWE has reached such a state that Tabish Khair even argues that ‘the best thing that can happen to Indian writing in English today is if it runs out of well-meaning British patronage’.5

Keywords

Indian Culture Global Marketplace Woman Writer Global Literary Global Marketing 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Francesca Orsini (2002) ‘India in the mirror of world fiction’, New Left Review, 13(Jan–Feb): 75–88.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Martin Amis (2013) ‘Indian writers make English literature richer’, http://ibnlive.in.com/news/indian-writers-make-english-literature-richer/141639–40-103.html (accessed 10 April 2014).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anis Shivani (2006) ‘Indo-Anglian fiction: The new Orientalism’, Race & Class, 47(4): 1–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    See Lisa Lau (2009) ‘Re-Orientalism: The perpetration and development of Orientalism by Orientals’, Modern Asian Studies, 43(2): 571–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 6.
    Tabish Khair (2011) ‘Foreword’, in Om Prakash Dwivedi (ed.), Literature of the Indian Diaspora, New Delhi: Pencraft International, p. vii.Google Scholar
  6. 7.
    Lisa Lau and Ana Mendes (eds) (2011) Re-Orientalism and South Asian Identity Politics: The Oriental Other Within, London: Routledge, p. 28.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Pavithra Narayanan (2013) ‘Transcending borders in publishing: The example of Mallika Sengupta, Bengali woman writer’, in Adele Parker and Stephenie Young (eds), Transnationalism and Resistance: Experience and Experiment in Women’s Writing, New York: Rodopi, p. 267.Google Scholar
  8. 9.
    Salman Rushdie (1992) Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism1981–1991, London: Penguin, p. 10.Google Scholar
  9. 10.
    Kwame Anthony Appiah (1995) ‘The postcolonial and the postmodern,’ in Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Tiffins (eds), The Post-colonial Studies Reader, London: Routledge, pp. 119–124.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Sarah Brouillette (2007) Postcolonial Writers and the Global Literary Marketplace, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, p. 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Om Prakash Dwivedi and Lisa Lau 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Om Prakash Dwivedi
  • Lisa Lau

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