Imagining a Gendered Nation : Writing Womanhood and Femininity in Nationalist India (1920-1947) The American Comparative Literature Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting

Intervenant : Anne Castaing

Utrecht University
Janskerkhof 15A, RM202, Utrecht, Pays-Bas

This paper aims at highlighting the manifestation and consequences of the gendering of the emerging Nation, that literature in India’s nationalist period (1920-1940) has generated, nurtured and reinforced. With some poems written by Hindi and Bengali "committed" writers, such as Maithili Sharan Gupta (1886-1964), Harivansh Rai Bachchan (1907-2003) and Jibanananda Das (1889-1954), this paper will show that different types of ideological discourses can appropriate womanhood as a symbolic vehicle of national utopias, and iconify “Woman” as both a romantic figure and a sacred land. Finally, this paper will show the way drawing on the imaginary of womanhood has led to justifiy gendered violence that occurred at the time of India’s independence.

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