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The Postsecular Imagination  presents a rich, interdisciplinary study of postsecularism as an affirmational political possibility emerging through the potentials and limits of both secular and religious thought. While secularism and religion can foster inspiration and creativity, they also can be linked with violence, civil war, partition, majoritarianism, and communalism, especially within the framework of the nation-state.

 

Through close readings of novels that engage with animism, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Sikhism, Manav Ratti examines how questions of ethics and the need for faith, awe, wonder, and enchantment can find expression and significance in the wake of such crises.

 

While focusing on Michael Ondaatje and Salman Rushdie, Ratti addresses the work of several other writers as well, including Shauna Singh Baldwin, Mahasweta Devi, Amitav Ghosh, and Allan Sealy. Ratti shows the extent of courage and risk involved in the radical imagination of these postsecular works, examining how writers experiment with and gesture toward the compelling paradoxes of a non-secular secularism and a non-religious religion.

 

Drawing on South Asian Anglophone literatures and postcolonial theory, and situating itself within the most provocative contemporary debates in secularism and religion, The Postsecular Imagination will be important for readers interested in the relations among culture, literature, theory, and politics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preface

The Literary and The Postsecular

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Introduction

Situating Postsecularism

 

Chapter 1

Postsecularism and Nation:

Michael Ondaatje's The English Patient

 

Chapter 2

Minority's Christianity:

Allan Sealy's The Everest Hotel

 

Chapter 3

Postsecularism and Violence:
Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost

 

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Manav Ratti, "Michael Ondaatje's Anil's Ghost and the Aestheticization of Human Rights" (ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, 35.1-2)

 

Chapter 4

If Truth Were A Sikh Woman:

Shauna Singh Baldwin's What the Body Remembers

 

Chapter 5

Postsecularism and Prophecy:

Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses

 

Chapter 6

Art After The Fatwa:

Salman Rushdie's Haroun and The Sea of Stories, The Moor's Last Sigh, Shalimar The Clown, and The Enchantress of Florence

 

Chapter 7

The Known and The Unknowable:

Amitav Ghosh's The Hungry Tide and Mahasweta Devi's "Pterodactyl, Puran Sahay, and Pirtha"

 

Coda

 

     
 

 

 
   
     
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Above photo: Maharaja Lena (Cave of the Geat King), Dambulla, Sri Lanka. Photo by Manav Ratti