Salman Rushdie has emerged over the years as one of the most controversial figures of our times who excites contrary feelings. But whether admired or criticized, the fact remains that Rushdie, with his commitment to struggle for freedom of expression, for speech to the silenced, for power to the disempowered, is a writer who cannot be ignored.
One of the major preoccupations of Rushdie’s art is the issue of migrant identity. Many of his characters are migrants drifting from shore to shore in search of some ‘imaginary homeland’, and obviously the author identifies himself with his migrant personae. Search for identity is perhaps the one recurring theme in Rushdie’s works, and the themes of ‘double identity’, ‘divided selves’ and ‘shadow figures’ persist in his writings as correlative for the schismatic/dual identity of the migrant, as well as the necessary confusion and ambiguity of the migrant existence. Rushdie describes the world from this unique point of view of the migrant narrator. He is also conscious of his role in this regard in ‘re-describing’ the world, and thus creating a new vision of art and life.
By exercising what he describes as the migrant writer’s privilege—to “choose his parents”—Rushdie has ‘chosen’ his inheritance from a vast repertoire of literary parents, including Cervantes, Kafka, Melville, et al.
His novels and stories derive their special flavour from the author’s superb handling of the characteristic postmodern devices like magic realism, palimpsest, ekphrasis, etc. Rushdie has been rightly compared with such literary innovators—stalwarts of our times as Gunter Grass, Milan Kundera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, et al. Readers of the present volumes will be taken round the world of Rushdie by erudite scholars whose well-researched, perceptive articles will add substantially to their enjoyment of these fantastic ‘imaginary homelands’.
About the Author
A full Professor since 1982, and recently retired, Mohit K. Ray is one of the seniormost Professors in the country. He has three books and a large number of research papers published in scholarly journals in India and abroad, which reflect his wide range of scholarship including Criticism, Comparative Literature, New Literatures, Canonical Literature, Comparative Poetics and Translation Studies.
Professor Ray has attended and chaired sessions as an invited participant in many international Conferences, Seminars, and Colloquia held in different parts of the globe—England, France, Portugal, Austria, Finland, Estonia, America, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, etc. Professor Ray has studied several languages including Latin, Sanskrit, Arabic, French, and German.
He has edited several anthologies of critical studies, and edits The Atlantic Critical Review, an international quarterly of global circulation. He is also at present working as the Chief Editor of Atlantic Publishers & Distributors.
Professor Ray is associated with many international bodies including Association Internationale de Litterature Comparee, Paris, and Association Internationale des Critiques Litteraires, Paris.
Rama Kundu is a full Professor of English. She has been teaching in the Postgraduate Department of English, Burdwan University, West Bengal, since 1976. She is the author of four books: Vision and Design in Hardy’s Fiction, Wrestling With God: Studies in English Devotional Poetry, Anita Desai’s Fire on the Mountain, and a Bengali book Anandamath O Sampradaikta on Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay. She has also edited an anthology of research papers on Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World, a collection of essays on Thomas Hardy, two volumes of critical studies on Indian Writing in English, four anthologies of Studies in Women Writers in English, and recently a festschrift, Widening Horizons: Essays in Honour of Professor Mohit K. Ray, in addition to translating a volume of poems into English—On the Revolving Stage. She has written a large number of research papers published in scholarly journals and anthologies in India and abroad. Professor Kundu has participated and chaired sessions in a large number of National and International Seminars and Conferences including several stints in Europe.