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IAS Fellow’s Public Lecture – The Strange and Prophetic Observations of Hootum the Owl : colonial modernity and the making of the post modern novel in India

10th December 2018 @ 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

10th December 2018, 17:30 to 18:30, Sports Hall, Josephine Butler College, Professor Sambudha Sen (Shiv Nadar University)


This talk makes a counterintuitive argument: that in negotiating the unprecedented transformations of colonial modernity Hootum Pyanchar Naksha (1861) – a popular, low-brow prose work by the Bengali writer Kaliprasanna Sinha – produced far reaching expressive strategies whose relevance for the future development of the novel form become evident only when we read it in relation to a late-twentieth-century post modern novels like work like Midnight’s Children (1981).

Specifically Professor Sambudha Sen argues that in the very process of drawing on the politics culture and language of England, Hootum showed the limitations of “realism” – the literary form thought in England and in Europe to be sign of the modern. As it set about destabilizing the basic assumption that undelay literary realism- that time was a continuous , linear sequence — Hootum produced the basic expressive strategies that would sustain some of the most characteristic features of the post modern novel – its mixture of the real and the magical , its linguistic hybridity and a mode of characterization that unfolded across social space rather than inwards in time.

This lecture is free and open to all.

Details about Professor Sambudha Sen

Directions to Josephine Butler College

Map – Josephine Butler is denoted as building No. 55

Contact [email protected] for more information about this event.


10th December 2018
5:30 pm - 6:30 pm
Event Category:


Durham IAS
NINE DTP - a collaborative partnership funded by the ESRC