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Series: Series in Literary Studies

The Mughal Aviary: Women’s Writings in Pre-Modern India

Sabiha Huq, Khulna University, Bangladesh

March 2022 / ISBN: 978-1-62273-852-6
Availability: In stock
204pp. ¦ $57 £42 €47

This volume delves into the literary lives of four Muslim women in pre-modern India. Three of them, Gulbadan Begam (1523-1603), the youngest daughter of Emperor Babur, Jahanara (1614-1681), the eldest daughter of Emperor Shah Jahan, and Zeb-un-Nissa (1638-1702), the eldest daughter of Emperor Aurangzeb, belonged to royalty. Thus, they were inhabitants of the Mughal 'zenana', an enigmatic liminal space of qualified autonomy and complex equations of gender politics. Amidst such constructs, Gulbadan Begam’s 'Humayun-Nama' (biography of her half-brother Humayun, reflecting on the lives of Babur’s wives and daughters), Jahanara’s hagiographies glorifying Mughal monarchy, and Zeb-un-Nissa’s free-spirited poetry that landed her in Aurangzeb’s prison, are discursive literary outputs from a position of gendered subalternity. While the subjective selves of these women never much surfaced under extant rigid conventions, their indomitable understanding of ‘home-world’ antinomies determinedly emerge from their works. This monograph explores the political imagination of these Mughal women that was constructed through statist interactions of their royal fathers and brothers, and how such knowledge percolated through the relatively cloistered communal life of the 'zenana'. The fourth woman, Habba Khatoon (1554-1609), famously known as ‘the Nightingale of Kashmir’, offers an interesting counterpoint to her royal peers. As a common woman who married into royalty (her husband Yusuf Shah Chak was the ruler of Kashmir in 1579-1586), her happiness was short-lived with her husband being treacherously exiled by Emperor Akbar. Khatoon’s verse, which voices the pangs of separation, was that of an ascetic who allegedly roamed the valley, and is famed to have introduced the ‘lol’ (lyric) into Kashmiri poetry. Across genres and social positions of all these writers, this volume intends to cast hitherto unfocused light on the emergent literary sensibilities shown by Muslim women in pre-modern India.

Rewriting Resistance: Caste and Gender in Indian Literature

Edited by Rakibul Islam, Aligarh Muslim University Centre at Jangipur Murshidabad, West Bengal, India and Jakir Hossain, Chitta Mahato Memorial College,Purulia, West Bengal, India

February 2022 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-349-0
Availability: In stock
204pp. ¦ $70 £55 €61

‘Rewriting Resistance: Caste and Gender in Indian Literature’ explores the claustrophobic shadow of discrimination hanging over Indian women and lower caste people from ancient times. It examines how different literary figures paint a vivid and descriptive picture of the physical and psychological oppression faced throughout India. The book traces feminist resistance, subaltern resistance, and resistance during the anti-colonial struggle, with the literary outputs discussed working as socio-political activity against dominant ideologies. The volume further talks about the responsibility, not only of those oppressed, but also of us as human beings, to speak out against the violation of human rights and for justice. So, the book focuses on the literary writers who always dream of a better India where all people, regardless of their caste, class and gender, can live and breathe freely. The book is divided into three parts. Part I describes the plight of women, their commodification and the politics around them, and how they fight hard to regain their faded identity. Part II depicts the interesting findings on gender-caste intersections and discrimination. Part III explores the struggle of the low caste, specifically male members of Dalit community, along with their history. It further portrays how orthodoxy in rituals creates the burden of traditional and existential crises. ‘Rewriting Resistance: Caste and Gender in Indian Literature’ re-visits Indian literary texts in terms of what they reveal about the resistance registered through the suffering of human beings (women and Dalits) at the hands of fellow human beings, and further links the discussion to our contemporary situation. The book has a unique quality in that it is not only a detailed study of select Indian English texts, but also delves into an in-depth analysis of texts from Bengali, Urdu, and Hindi literature. The work is likely to affect and appeal to students, scholars and academics, and can be adopted for classroom teaching and research purposes as well.

Becoming Home: Diaspora and the Anglophone Transnational

Edited by Jude V. Nixon, Salem State University and Mariaconcetta Costantini, G. d’ Annunzio University, Italy

November 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-294-3
Availability: In stock
246pp. ¦ $82 £64 €71

“Becoming Home: Diaspora and the Anglophone Transnational” is a collection of essays exploring national identity, migration, exile, colonialism, postcolonialism, slavery, race, and gender in the literature of the Anglophone world. The volume focuses on the dispersion or scattering of people in exile, and how those with an existing homeland and those displaced, without a politically recognized sovereign state, negotiate displacement and the experience of living at home-abroad. This group includes expatriate minority communities existing uneasily and nostalgically on the margins of their host country. The diaspora becomes an important cultural phenomenon in the formation of national identities and opposing attempts to transcend the idea of nationhood itself on its way to developing new forms of transnationalism. Chapters on the literature or national allegories of the diaspora and the transnational explore the diverse and geographically expansive ways in which Anglophone literature by colonized subjects and emigrants negotiates diasporic spaces to create imagined communities or a sense of home. Themes explored within these pages include restlessness, tensions, trauma, ambiguities, assimilation, estrangement, myth, nostalgia, sentimentality, homesickness, national schizophrenia, divided loyalties, intellectual capital, and geographical interstices. Special attention is paid to the complex ways identity is negotiated by immigrants to Anglophone countries writing in English about their home-abroad experience. The lived experiences of emigrants of the diaspora create a literature rife with tensions concerning identity, language, and belongingness in the struggle for home. Focusing on writers in particular geopolitical spaces, the essays in the collection offer an active conversation with leading theorizers of the diaspora and the transnational, including Edward Said, Bill Ashcroft, William Safran, Gabriel Sheffer, Stuart Hall, Homi Bhabha, Frantz Fanon, and Benedict Anderson. This volume cuts across the broad geopolitical space of the Anglophone world of literature and cultural studies and will appeal to professors, scholars, graduate, and undergraduate students in English, comparative literature, history, ethnic and race studies, diaspora studies, migration, and transnational studies. The volume will also be an indispensable aid to public policy experts.

Discursos e Identidades en la Ficción Romántica / Discourses and Identities in Romance Fiction

Visiones Anglófonas de Madeira y Canarias / Anglophone Visions from Madeira and the Canaries

Edited by María Isabel González Cruz, University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain

December 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-088-8
Availability: In stock
406pp. ¦ $88 £69 €76

Despreciado por la crítica por su condición de literatura popular y femenina, el género romántico no solo continúa imbatible en el mercado editorial con su elevado índice de ventas, sino que en las últimas décadas está siendo objeto de interesantes estudios académicos. "Discursos e Identidades en la Ficción Romántica" se suma a esta corriente, al abordar el análisis interdisciplinar de un corpus de novelas publicadas en lengua inglesa entre 1955 y 2004. Ambientados en las islas atlánticas de Madeira y Canarias, estos textos encierran una variedad de discursos que ponen de manifiesto una visión muy anglófona de los lugares visitados por las protagonistas. Además del esperado discurso de género, en sus páginas se detecta un discurso del paraíso que resalta el exotismo de las islas, despertando en ocasiones la concienciación medioambiental, aunque también se perciben actitudes lingüísticas e incluso raciales, a medida que las autoras indagan en el descubrimiento del Otro. Ni los personajes ni los narradores son ajenos al choque de identidades y al contacto lingüístico (anglo-español y anglo-portugués), de manera que los conflictos que generan la identidad nacional, la identidad de género y la identidad étnica se vislumbran claramente tras la aparente sencillez de la intriga amorosa de este tipo de novelas. Disdained by critics for its status as popular and feminine literature, romance fiction not only remains unbeatable in the publishing market in terms of sales, but has also been the subject of interesting academic studies in recent decades. "Discourses and Identities in Romance Fiction" joins this trend by addressing the interdisciplinary analysis of a corpus of novels published in English between 1955 and 2004. Set on the Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Canaries, these texts develop a variety of discourses that reveal a very Anglophone vision of the places visited by their protagonists. In addition to the expected gender discourse, these romances tend to include a paradise narrative that highlights the exoticism of the islands, sometimes awakening environmental awareness. Linguistic and even racial attitudes also come to the forefront, as the writers explore and describe the features of the Other. Neither the characters nor the narrators are oblivious to the clash of identities and the linguistic contact (English-Spanish and English-Portuguese) exposed in this type of novels, revealing the conflicts generated by national, gender and/or ethnic identities behind the apparent simplicity of their love plots.

The Confluence of Wisdom Along the Silk Road

Omar Khayyam’s Transformative Poetry

Mostafa Vaziri, University of Innsbruck, Austria

July 2021 / ISBN: 978-1-64889-257-8
Availability: In stock
208pp. ¦ $79 £63 €68

For centuries along the vibrant cultural corridor of the Silk Road of Central Asia, philosophers and thinkers from Hellenic, Chinese and Indian traditions debated existential issues. Out of this stimulating milieu, the iconic poet-mathematician Omar Khayyam emerged in the eleventh century, advancing a transformative intercultural philosophy in his poetic work, the Rubaiyat. Vaziri traces the themes of Khayyam’s Rubaiyat back to the highly influential philosophical traditions of the Silk Road and uncovers fascinating parallels in original works by Heraclitus, Zhuangzi (Daoism), Nagarjuna (Mahayana Buddhism), and the Upanishads. In addition, Vaziri’s elegant translation and unique classification of the verses of the Rubaiyat reveal an existential roadmap laid out by Khayyam. In this pioneering volume, Vaziri not only fuses the multiple disciplines of literature, philosophy, culture, history and medicine but also takes the approach of the Rubaiyat to a new level, presenting it as a source of wisdom therapy that stands the test of time in the face of doubt and confusion, offering a platform for self-restoration.