Poetics of Pain : Writing the Memory of Partition Chapitre d’ouvrage - 2017

Anne Castaing

Anne Castaing, « Poetics of Pain : Writing the Memory of Partition  », in Anne Murphy and Churnjeet Mahn (ed.), Partition and the Practice of Memory, 2017. ISBN 978-3-319-64516-2


This article explores the use of emotive narration as a strategy within Partition literature which encourages subaltern expression. The recent development of affect studies and the ‘affective turn’ in different fields and disciplines (notably history) offer new perspectives in the comprehension of tragedies as at once individual and collective experiences. This sheds new light on how memory is constructed in Partition narratives, especially when personal experience can often remain subservient (as was particularly the case for Partition) to ideological ‘grand’ narratives, within which individual, and even more so collective emotions, have been considered as interfering (or ‘troubling’, in Alok Bhalla’s words) to more ‘objective’ narratives. Highlighting the imbricated practices of emotion and memory, this chapter will discuss how women’s literature can offer a creative insight into the experience of collective tragedy that should and can be considered alongside the official archive of Partition history.

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