Literature at the End of History: Returning Politics to Culture (Hardcover)
Not Yet Published
On the politics of literature: how writers create the world
In The East was Red Pankaj Mishra beautifully demonstrates, using examples from all over the world, an important and lately neglected truth: literature is inseparable from its social and political context. It is a mode of social enquiry.
Through a sequence of portraits, Mishra introduces us to writers and how life and literature informs their political evolution. He shows Edward Said's multiple selves, forged between Palestine and the US, and witness the impact of the Six-Day War on his writing about colonialism, Palestine and the politics of identity.
We also see the improvisations and distortions imposed by colonial rule and immigration to the West on two very different writers: R.K. Narayan and V.S. Naipaul.
The East Was Red also explores the underground literary culture of Palestinian Israelis, the trajectory of Chinese intellectuals through the twentieth century, the modern literary cultures of Turkey and Egypt. It assesses the American literary response to the 9/11 attacks; explores the postmodernism of Susan Sontag, Zadie Smith, Salman Rushdie, Jennifer Egan and David Foster Wallace; underlines the rediscovery of class war in America by Elizabeth Strout’s fiction; and examines, through the cult of Barack Obama as highbrow reader and writer, the fashionable new idea of literature as a generator of empathy.
Global in scope, and informed by political and intellectual as well as literary history, this book is Pankaj Mishra at his majestic best.
About the Author
Pankaj Mishra is the multi-award-winning author of numerous books, most recently The Age of Anger: A History of the Present. He writes literary and political essays for the New York Times, New York Review of Books, Guardian, New Yorker, London Review of Books, and Bloomberg View, among other American, British, and Indian publications. His work has also appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, New Republic, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Time, the Independent, Granta, the Nation, n+1, Poetry, Common Knowledge, Outlook, and Harper’s.