Roanne KantorAug 18, 2022
South Asian Writers, Latin American Literature, and the Rise of Global English
Cambridge University Press 2022
Ever since T.B. Macaulay leveled the accusation in 1835 that 'a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India,' South Asian literature has served as the imagined battleground between local linguistic multiplicity and a rapidly globalizing English. In response to this endless polemic, Indian and Pakistani writers set out in another direction altogether. They made an unexpected journey to Latin America. The cohort of authors that moved between these regions include Latin-American Nobel laureates Pablo Neruda and Octavio Paz; Booker Prize notables Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Mohammed Hanif, and Mohsin Hamid.
In South Asian Writers, Latin American Literature, and the Rise of Global English (Cambridge UP, 2022), Roanne Kantor claims that they formed the vanguard of a new, multilingual world literary order. Their encounters with Latin America fundamentally shaped the way in which literature written in English from South Asia exploded into popularity from the 1980s until the mid-2000s, enabling its global visibility.
Roanne L. Kantor is Assistant Professor of English at Stanford University.
Gargi Binju is a researcher at the University of Tübingen.