Rumour, gossip, and loneliness: the Nautch-girl and her other in the Romance of a Nautch girl and The Woman in the Bazaar

Show simple item record Rath, Arnapurna Rath, Sura P.
dc.coverage.spatial India 2012-09-26T07:22:33Z 2012-09-26T07:22:33Z 2020
dc.identifier.citation Rath, Arnapurna and Rath, Sura P., "Rumour, gossip, and loneliness: the Nautch-girl and her other in the Romance of a Nautch girl and The Woman in the Bazaar", S?hitya: Journal of the Comparative Literature Association of India, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 4-26, 2020. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 2249 � 6416
dc.identifier.uri Rath and S. Rath.pdf
dc.description.abstract This paper is a culmination of an elaborate study on the fictional writings by women authors from the British Raj in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The present study follows a close-reading and comparative study of two novels written by two women authors from the British Raj- Frank Penny's (1867-1934) The Romance of a Nautch Girl (1898), and Alice Perrin's (1847-1939) The Woman in the Bazaar (1914). The paper provides a reflective analysis of subversive domesticity through a study of the tropes of rumour mills and gossip in the households of the Raj through a close-reading of the two novels. The paper makes an argument that the novels demand a humane reading, empathetic to the cause of the woman (whether the native or the colonizer). The excess of rumour, gossip, and a certain mystery that surrounded these women characters like Minachee, Deva, and Rafella in the novels lead to their ultimate fall. The "exoticization" of a woman can be mentally and emotionally draining as is demonstrated by the characters of these novels. The novels highlight complexities in the lives women both in the empire and in their colonies. These characters in the novels are pushed into loneliness, isolation, and into extreme steps of prostitution. The women characters may either represent the colonized spaces or may belong to the spaces of the imperial powers, yet the challenges of subversive domesticity and the need to balance the expectations of the family and the empire, can emotionally drain any woman -whether she is a European courtesan or an Indian Devadasi. These novels hold a key to counter-reading of grand narratives of colonial discourses in the light of the contemporary times. The emotive terrains of women, their biological setup, and the demand for them to perform in certain ways in the socio-cultural systems of their own cultures, might be universal in some ways and maybe counterproductive to the wellbeing of any woman irrespective of their racial identities. Through a reading of these novels, we argue that literary history and criticism could treat these women protagonists and women authors of the Raj with more compassion than they were treated in the last century, after the memories of both the colonial and the post-colonial times have subsided in the fine pixels of the collective unconscious of the twenty-first century.
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Arnapurna Rath and Sura P. Rath
dc.format.extent vol. 9, no. 1
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Comparative Literature Association Of India en_US
dc.subject Narratives en_US
dc.subject Gossip en_US
dc.subject Rumour en_US
dc.subject Women�s Novels en_US
dc.subject Colonial Politics en_US
dc.subject Memsahibs en_US
dc.subject Raj Fiction en_US
dc.subject Modernity en_US
dc.subject Tradition en_US
dc.subject Devadasis en_US
dc.subject Comparative Literature en_US
dc.title Rumour, gossip, and loneliness: the Nautch-girl and her other in the Romance of a Nautch girl and The Woman in the Bazaar en_US
dc.type Article en_US
dc.relation.journal Sahitya: Journal of the Comparative Literature Association of India

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