Laetitia Zecchini, "’editorial policy / open as hell’ : The Dissent and the Worldliness of Indian little magazines" Exposition : ’Crafting Subversion : DIY and Decoloniall Print’

Intervenant : Laetitia Zecchini

University College London UCL
IAS Forum
Ground floor, South Wing, Wilkins Building
United Kingdom

This presentation will be based on a wealth of visual documents and focus on several anti-establishment Indian little magazines, especially Vrishchik (1969-73), damn you (1965-1968), ezra (1967-1971), Contra 66 (1966-1967), and Waste Paper, with Bombay as one of its focal points. In these alternative publishing spaces many writers exercised and found their creative and critical voices, connected with each other and with the world outside ; and honed a radicalism that was often inseparably aesthetical and political. Because this period was characterized by creative traffics across languages, genres, and media, I argue for a connected history of the Indian little magazines published in English, with those published in other languages ; for a connected history of literature, and in particular poetry, with other art forms, and for a connected history of Indian littles with a transnational network of ‘small publications’ and with an international counter-culture. In different ways, these magazines can be read as space-clearing, emancipatory gestures. How was the medium of the magazine (and its littleness) integral to its agenda ? By what means could some of these magazines travel the world and what kind of communities, fraternities or ‘conspiracies’ did they contribute to create ? Since these little magazines have been interpreted as embodying ‘the spirit of rebellion and experimentation’ (Vilas Sarang) of a whole generation of writers and artists, what were the different modalities of this rebellion ? What kind of ‘literary activism’ — both understood as activism on behalf of, and through literature — did they embody, and how were they connected to the ‘street-fighting years’ (Tariq Ali) of the time ?

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