G. S. SahotaApr 12, 2022
Late Colonial Sublime
Neo-Epics and the End of Romanticism
Northwestern University Press 2018
Taking cues from Walter Benjamin’s fragmentary writings on literary-historical method, Late Colonial Sublime: Neo-Epics and the End of Romanticism (Northwestern UP, 2018) re-constellates the dialectic of Enlightenment across a wide imperial geography, with special focus on the fashioning of neo-epics in Hindi and Urdu literary cultures in British India. Working through the limits of both Marxism and postcolonial critique, this book forges an innovative approach to the question of late romanticism and grounds categories such as the sublime within the dynamic of commodification. While G. S. Sahota takes canonical European critics such as Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer to the outskirts of empire, he reads Indian writers such as Muhammad Iqbal and Jayashankar Prasad in light of the expansion of instrumental rationality and the neotraditional critiques of the West it spurred at the onset of decolonization.
By bringing together distinct literary canons—both metropolitan and colonial, hegemonic and subaltern, Western and Eastern, all of which took shape upon the common realities of imperial capitalism—Late Colonial Sublime takes an original dialectical approach. It experiments with fragments, parallaxes, and constellational form to explore the aporias of modernity as well as the possible futures they may signal in our midst. A bold intervention into contemporary debates that synthesizes a wealth of sources, this book will interest readers and scholars in world literature, critical theory, postcolonial criticism, and South Asian studies.
G.S. Sahota is associate professor of Literature at UC Santa Cruz, where he holds the Aurora chair in Sikh and Punjab Studies. His first book, Late Colonial Sublime: Neo-Epics and the End of Romanticism (Northwestern University Press, 2018), was awarded the Modern Language Initiative Grant of the Mellon Foundation. He is currently undertaking research toward two separate books (Transposed Minds: Indo-German Cultural Exchange and a Critique of Identity, and The Name of Reason: Sikhism, Secularism, and a Future Philosophy), pursuing a photography project on the gurdwaras of California, composing fragmentary thought-images, and learning Italian.
Saronik Bosu (@SaronikB on Twitter) is a doctoral candidate in English at New York University. He is writing his dissertation on literary rhetoric and economic thought. He co-hosts the podcast High Theory and is a co-founder of the Postcolonial Anthropocene Research Network.