Chimeras of Form: Modernist Internationalism Beyond Europe, 1914-2016

Hardcover | December 13, 2016

byAarthi Vadde

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In Chimeras of Form, Aarthi Vadde vividly illustrates how modernist and contemporary writers reimagine the nation and internationalism in a period defined by globalization. She explains how Rabindranath Tagore, James Joyce, Claude McKay, George Lamming, Michael Ondaatje, and Zadie Smith use modernist literary forms to develop ideas of international belonging sensitive to the afterlife of empire. In doing so, she shows how this wide-ranging group of authors challenged traditional expectations of aesthetic form, shaping how their readers understand the cohesion and interrelation of political communities.

Drawing on her close readings of individual texts and on literary, postcolonial, and cosmopolitical theory, Vadde examines how modernist formal experiments take part in debates about transnational interdependence and social obligation. She reads Joyce's use of asymmetrical narratives as a way to ask questions about international camaraderie, and demonstrates how the "plotless" works of Claude McKay upturn ideas of citizenship and diasporic alienation. Her analysis of the contemporary writers Zadie Smith and Shailja Patel shows how present-day issues relating to migration, displacement, and economic inequality link modernist and postcolonial traditions of literature. Vadde brings these traditions together to reveal the dual nature of internationalism as an aspiration, possibly a chimeric one, and an actual political discourse vital to understanding our present moment.

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In Chimeras of Form, Aarthi Vadde vividly illustrates how modernist and contemporary writers reimagine the nation and internationalism in a period defined by globalization. She explains how Rabindranath Tagore, James Joyce, Claude McKay, George Lamming, Michael Ondaatje, and Zadie Smith use modernist literary forms to develop ideas of...

Aarthi Vadde is the Andrew W. Mellon Assistant Professor of English at Duke University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.98 inPublished:December 13, 2016Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231180241

ISBN - 13:9780231180245

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Table of Contents

AcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Chimeras of Form1. Autotranslations: Rabindranath Tagore's Internationalism in Circulation 2. Alternating Asymmetry: International Solidarity and Self-Deception in James Joyce's Dubliners and "Cyclops"3. Stories Without Plots: The Nomadic Collectivism of Claude McKay and George Lamming4. Archival Legends: National Myth and Transnational Memory in the Works of Michael Ondaatje5. Root Canals: Zadie Smith's Scales of InjusticeEpilogue: Migritude-The Re-mediated Work of Art and Art's Mediating WorkNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

Vadde's expansive, sophisticated, and timely analysis unsettles conventional divisions between formalism and postcolonialism, nationalism and cosmopolitanism, realism and utopianism, and Europe and its others. Through masterful readings, she demonstrates how in form and content Tagore, Joyce, McKay, Lamming, Ondaatje, and Zadie Smith disrupt given understandings of territory, community, unity, and belonging. Vadde persuasively reveals the importance of literary modernism for imagining nonnational forms of sociability, solidarity, and citizenship.