Amit Chaudhuri’s Poetic Dwelling in A Strange and Sublime Address and Afternoon Raag

Patrycja Magdalena Austin


This article considers two early novels by Amit Chaudhuri, A Strange and Sublime Address (1991) and Afternoon Raag (1993). In the face of the twin phenomena of globalization and growing nationalistic sentiments, Chaudhuri focuses on the “local” in its full complexity as a site of both global and indigenous influences. Going beyond postcolonial dichotomies (global/local, national/foreign, East/West), he emphasizes the sensuous perception of everyday reality, of the “here” and “now” of his narrative world. In his writing, we see the influence of Shklovsky’s concept of defamiliarization as well as the Indian high modernist philosophy of Rabindranath Tagore. What is more, Chaudhuri’s fiction reflects cosmopolitan theory (Ulrich Beck, Jean-Luc Nancy) and embraces what Nancy calls mondialisation, or “the creation of the world”, a term which stays rooted in the specific, unassimilable singularities of the local in order to contribute to the preservation of the world in its diversity.

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