GEORGE ORWELL, “BURMESE DAYS” and AMITAV GHOSH, “THE GLASS PALACE” – COMPARATIVE STUDY

Now on-line at:
http://yatrarollason.info/files/GhoshandOrwellJan09.pdf
is my article:
"Empire, Sense of Place and Cultures in Contact – George Orwell’s ‘Burmese Days’ and Amitav Ghosh’s ‘The Glass Palace’" – as far as I know, the first study to offer a sustained comparison of these two Burma-themed novels.
 
It was given as a guest paper to a postgraduate seminar at the University of Manchester, England, in July 2008.

**
EXTRACT:
"Criticism does not, to date, appear to have done more than note briefly the significant literary, historical and cultural issues that are generated by the intertextual relationship between George Orwell’s Burmese Days (1934) and Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace (2000), two novels which have in common the rather obvious point that both deal with Burma and the impact of empire on that country. Burma (today officially Myanmar) was annexed piecemeal by the British across three wars between 1824 and 1885, when Mandalay was captured and Thibaw, the last king, was exiled (cf. Courtauld 34-40). The country was directly incorporated into British India until 1937, when it was placed under separate administration, was occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945, and won independence in 1948, a year after India and Pakistan. This history finds significant literary reflection in the "Burmese" novels of Orwell and Ghosh. The two texts manifest clear intertextual links and parallels, while, furthermore, the work of both writers exhibits other more general similarities of an arresting nature. To juxtapose their respective fictional and discursive universes – one colonial (or pre-independence), the other postcolonial – may shed significant light on empire and its aftermath."
 
Note added 26 June 2009:
 
This article has now been published in:
Indian Journal of Postcolonial Literatures (Thodupuzha, Kerala, India), Vol. 9, No. 1, June 2009, pp. 10-21. Cf. entry on this blog for 25 June 2009.
 

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