Layered Temporalities - Between Modernism and Postmodernism - in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland

Keywords: Circular time, Egoism, Linear time, Modernity, Postmodernism

Abstract

The discussion approaches Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel The Lowland, aiming to trace the author’s positioning in relation to modern and postmodern assumptions. The argument follows the main character’s (Gauri) transnational trajectory, as she crosses frontiers in a journey that also spans large temporal dimensions. Gauri’s unconventional choices are to be interpreted in relation with her permanent interest in the nature of time that is also a part of her doctoral research in philosophy. Gauri’s professional goals and her personal destiny appear strongly conditioned by the political context of her pre-emigration days, i.e. the Naxalite movement. All the above suggest that The Lowland can be read as a novel with an implied message about the grand narrative of history in relation to time perception and the possibility of (female) identity formation. Whether Lahiri’s approach to these themes echoes a predominantly (post)modern outlook is the focus of the present analysis.

Author Biography

Adriana-Elena Stoican, Bucharest University of Economic Studies, Bucharest, Romania

Adriana-Elena Stoican received her Ph.D. in Literary and Cultural Studies from the University of Bucharest, Romania. She currently teaches English for Business Communication at the Bucharest University of Economic Studies. Her research interests include Indian diasporic fiction in English, comparative literature, South Asian American literature, postcolonial studies.

References

Anwar, N. (2015). Aestheticism, Postmodernism and Displacement in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Fiction: A Novel View of the Search for Fulfillment by Obliviating the Past. Anchor Academic Publishing.

Bandyopadhyay, D. (2009). Negotiating Borders of Culture: Jhumpa Lahiri’s Fiction. Journal of Literature, Culture and Media Studies, 1(1), 97–108. http://www.i-scholar.in/index.php/JLCMS/article/view/168676

Banerjee, B. (2010). Diaspora's ‘Dark Room’: Photography and the Vision of Loss in Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Hema and Kaushik.’ The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 45(3), 443–56. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021989410377393

Banerjee, S. (1984). India’s Simmering Revolution. The Naxalite Uprising. Zed Books.

Bhalla, T.A. (2008). Between history and identity: Reading the authentic in South Asian diasporic literature. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/ bitstream/handle/2027.42/61737/?sequence=1

Brada-Williams, N. (2004). Reading Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Interpreter of Maladies’ as a Short Story Cycle. MELUS, 29(3/4), 451–464. https://doi.org/10.2307/4141867

Bran, R.A. (2014). Immigration: ‘A Lifelong Pregnancy? ‘An Analysis of Jhumpa Lahiri’s Fiction. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. https://eldorado.tu-dortmund.de/bitstream/ 2003/33621/1/Dissertation.pdf.

Brians, P. (2003). Modern South Asian Literature in English. Greenwood Press.

Bronner, E.S. (2011). Critical Theory. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780199730070.001.0001

Bottomore, T. (2003). The Frankfurt School and its Critics. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203407110

Butler, C. (2002). Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780192802392.001.0001

Caesar, J. (2005). American Spaces in the Fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri. English Studies in Canada, 31(1), 50–68. https://doi.org/10.1353/esc.2007.0002

Caesar, J. (2007). Gogol’s Namesake: Identity and Relationships in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Atenea, 27(1), 103–119.

Chetty, G.R. (2006). Versions of America: Reading American Literature for Identity and Difference. (Unpublished Master’s thesis). https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1764&context=etd

Cooper, M. (2006). Socialist humanism: A progressive politics for the twenty-first century. In G. Proctor, M. Cooper, P. Sanders & B. Malcom (Eds.), Politicising the Person-Centered Approach: An Agenda for Social Change (pp.80-94). PCCS Books.

Dudley, W. (2009). Hegel and History. Sunny Press.

Iyer, S. (2009). Interpreter of Maladies: A Saga of Asian Immigrants. In M. F. Patel (Ed.), Recritiquing Women’s Writing in English (Vol.1) (pp. 80–86). Sunrise Publishers & Distributors.

James, D. (2015). Worlded Localisms. Cosmopolitics Writ Small. In L. Platt, & S. Upstone, (Eds.), Postmodern Literature and Race (pp. 47–61). Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781107337022.005

Janaway, C. (2002). Schopenhauer. A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/actrade/9780192802590.001.0001

Jawaid, S. (1979). The Naxalite Movement in India. Associated Publishing Home.

Kammer, J. (2015, September 30). The Hart-Celler Immigration Act of 1965. Political figures and historic circumstances produced dramatic, unintended consequences. Center for Immigration Studies. https://cis.org/Report/HartCeller-Immigration-Act-1965

Kemper, B. (2011). The Language of Diaspora in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth. (Unpublished Master’s thesis). https://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/etdarchive/528

Konzett, C.D. (2002). Ethnic Modernisms Anzia Yezierska, Zora Neale Hurston, Jean Rhys, and the Aesthetics of Dislocation. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lahiri, J. (2013). The Lowland. Alfred A. Knopf.

Madhurpana, M. (2006). Lahiri’s Mrs. Sen’s. The Explicator, 64(3), 193–196. https://doi.org/10.3200/EXPL.64.3.193-196

Maker, W. (2009). The End of History and the Nihilism of Becoming. In W. Dudley (Ed.), Hegel and History (pp.15-34). Sunny Press. https://doi.org/10.5840/hsaproceedings2009203

Munos, D. (2010). Diasporic Hereafters in Jhumpa Lahiri’s Once in a Lifetime. In S. Schultermandl, & S. Toplu (Eds.), A Fluid Sense of the Self. The Politics of Transnational Identity (pp. 139–157). LIT.

Murphy, W.J. (1989). Postmodern Social Analysis and Criticism, Contributions in Sociology, Number 79. Greenwood Press.

Mustafi, M.S. (2012, July 11). Naxalbari: The Cradle of India’s Bloody Class War. The New York Times. https://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/naxalbari-the-cradle-of-indias-bloody-class-war

Nabholz, A.C. (2007). The Crisis of Modernity: Culture, Nature, and the Modernist Yearning for Authenticity. [Unpublished doctoral dissertation]. https://edoc.unibas.ch/ 639/1/DissB_7969.pdf

Norman, R. (2004). On Humanism. Thinking in Action. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203219911

Olsen, L. (1990). Circus of the Mind in Motion Postmodernism and the Cosmic Vision. Wayne State University Press.

O’Malley, S. (2014). Making History New. Modernism and Historical Narrative. Oxford University Press. https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199364237.001.0001

Raj, J.S. & Jose, S. (2014). Diasporic Ambivalence in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. In B. Singh (Ed.), Indian Writing in English: Critical Insights (pp. 26-37). Authorspress.

Saha, A.S. (2009). The Problem of Personal Identity: A Philosophical Survey through the Selected Fictions of Anita Desai, Bharati Mukherjee, Sunetra Gupta, and Jhumpa Lahiri in the Context of the Indian Diaspora. Humanicus 3, 60–74.

Samanta, S. (2014). Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland: A Family Saga with a Political Perspective. Galaxy: International Multidisciplinary Research Journal, 3(IV), 110–116. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2760706

Schopenhauer, A. (1969). The World as Will and Representation vols.1,2 (E. F. J. Payne, Trans.). Dover Publications, Inc.

Seshagiri, U. (2016, February 15). Jhumpa Lahiri’s Modernist Turn [Review of the book The Lowland, by J. Lahiri]. Public Books. http://www.publicbooks.org/jhumpa-lahiris-modernist-turn/

Song, M.H. (2007). The Children of 1965: Allegory, Postmodernism, and Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake. Twentieth-Century Literature 53(3), 345–370. https://doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-2007-4001

Small, R. (2010). Time and Becoming in Nietzsche’s Thought. Continuum International Publishing Group.

Stoican, A. E. (2018). Diffused Gender Codes and Transcultural Outcomes in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland. In A. Zamfira, C. de Montlibert, D. Radu, (Eds.), Gender in Focus (pp.160-177). Barbara Budrich. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctvddzn5f.10

Williams, A. L. (2007). Foodways and Subjectivities in Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Interpreter of Maladies”. MELUS, 32(4), 69–79. https://doi.org/10.1093/melus/32.4.69

Williams, L. B. (2002). Modernism and the Ideology of History. Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511485350

William, M. (2016). The Genesis of Political Correctness. The Basis of a False Morality. CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.

Zhang, Y. (2012). Asian American Forms: From Realism to Modernism. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Washington. https://digital.lib.washington.edu/researchworks/bitstream/handle/1773/20217/Zhang_washington_0250E_10110.pdf?sequence=1

Zimmer, H. (1990). Myths and Symbols in Indian Art and Civilization. Motilal Banarsidass.

Published
2020-12-21
How to Cite
Stoican, A.-E. (2020). Layered Temporalities - Between Modernism and Postmodernism - in Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Lowland. English Studies at NBU, 6(2), 249-264. https://doi.org/10.33919/esnbu.20.2.5
Section
Articles