In a work of stunning archival recovery and interpretive virtuosity, Priya Joshi illuminates the cultural work performed by two kinds of English novels in India during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Spanning the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, readers and writers, empire and nation, consumption and production, "In Another Country" vividly explores a process by which first readers and then writers of the English novel indigenized the once imperial form and put it to their own uses. Asking what nineteenth-century Indian readers chose to read and why, Joshi shows how these readers transformed the literary and cultural influences of empire. By subsequently analyzing the eventual rise of the English novel in India, she further demonstrates how Indian novelists, from Krupa Satthianadhan to Salman Rushdie, took an alien form in an alien language and used it to address local needs. Taken together in this manner, reading and writing reveal the complex ways in which culture is continually translated and transformed in a colonial and postcolonial context.
Fascinating... a truly remarkable piece of scholarship... stimulating. Choice Joshi's research... achieve[s] a historical richness and intimacy unmatched by any recent study of colonial or postcolonial literature. What makes In Another Country methodologically original is the subtlety with which it situates political meaning... An unstoppable read. -- Leah Price Victorian Studies This innovative and ambitious book challenges simplistic hegemonic perspectives on colonialism and culture, intervening imaginatively into current discussions of the development of the novel in English and... [its] global travels. In lively, engaging prose, In Another Country mines library records, publishers' archives, and works by Indian writers to glean new understandings of how English books were read in India in the nineteenth century and of the process by which consumers of those books became producers of Indian literature in English. As Joshi's ingenious reconstruction of the consumption practices of nineteenth-century India's resistant readers predicts, the tradition of the Indian novel that emerged in the twentieth century transmuted its colonial legacy in unpredictable ways that ultimately reversed the priorities of Englishness and empire. -- Citation of the MLA Prize for a First Book Committee This welcome book shows how India and Indians, over time, indigenized English novels to reflect their ideas, experiences, and realities... Thankfully, this study shows how notable Indian responses, experiments, and critical voices constantly complemented, engaged, and reimagined the British counterpart. -- Charles Lindholm Journal of Asian Studies This study of the impact of the English novel on nineteenth-and twentieth-century India is an important contribution to Indian book history... many of Joshi's findings are new and startling and ought to stimulate further studies and enquiries in the field of Indian book history. -- Rimi B. Chatterjee SHARP News Joshi's interpretations are nuanced and careful...Joshi does excellent work as a critical reader of texts. -- Henry Schwarz, Georgetown University Modern Language Quarterly