This book collects essays spawned directly or indirectly by England's overseas ventures. Beginning with an essay that traces Bacon's influence on English colonization and the impact of his thought on English imperialism, it focuses on proponents of empire such as Daniel Defoe and opponents of the excesses of empire building such as Burke. It includes discussions of the writings of English women and men in British India such as the relatively unknown Eliza Fay and major literary figures such as Rudyard Kipling and George Orwell. Imperial Entanglements argues that a major consequence of the British presence in India is the rise of South Asian writing in English. It therefore includes several essays on novelists such as R.K. Narayan and Amitav Ghosh, the controversial Nirad Chaudhuri and the Bangladeshi poet, Kaiser Haq. The book also attempts to read these and other writers postcolonially, deriving inspiration from the life and works of Edward Said. Several essays of the book are, in fact, devoted to expounding the central ideas of the Palestinian-American intellectual. Imperial Entanglements demonstrates that the ultimate consequence of the English colonization of India and the introduction of the English language to the subcontinent has been the flow and counter-flow of people across continents. It thus features essays on two recent and notable writers of the Indian diaspora, Bharati Mukherjee and Jhumpa Lahiri. The book concludes by examining the pedagogical implications of the ever-increasing body of literature sometimes dubbed South Asian writing in English, suggesting that the work being produced by South Asians in English constitutes an exciting source of material for English language teaching in India. Imperial Entanglements should be of interest to teachers and students of the colonial encounter, postcolonialism, South Asian writing in English, writers of the Indian diaspora and English language teaching.
Fakrul Alam is a Professor of English at the University of Dhaka. He is the author of Daniel Defoe: Colonial Propagandist (University of Dhaka publications, 1989) and Bharati Mukherjee (New York: Twayne Publishers, 1995) and numerous essays published nationally and internationally. He edits The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bangladesh (Humanities).