Words of Her Own: Women Authors in Nineteenth-Century Bengal

ISBN : 9780199498000

Maroona Murmu
456 Pages
147 x 215 mm
Pub date
Jul 2020
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Words of Her Own situates the experiences and articulations of emergent women writers in nineteenth-century Bengal through an exploration of works authored by them. Based on a spectrum of genres-such as autobiographies, novels, and, travelogues-this book examines the socio-cultural incentives that enabled the dawn of middle-class Hindu and Brahmo women authors at that time. Murmu explores the intersections of class, caste, gender, language, and religion in these works. Reading these texts within a specific milieu, Murmu sets out to rectify the essentialist conception of women's writings being a monolithic body of works that display a firmly gendered form and content, by offering rich insights into the complex world of women's subjectivities in colonial Bengal. In attempting to do so, this book opens up the possibility of reconfiguring mainstream history by questioning the scholarly conceptualization of patriarchy being omnipotent enough to shape the intricacies of gender relations, resulting in the flattening of self-fashioning by women writers. The book contends that there were women authors who flouted the norms of literary aesthetics and tastes set by male literati, thereby creating a literary tradition of their own in Bangla and becoming agents of history at the turn of the century.


List of Tables and Figures

1. Women in the Archives: Situating Women's Writings
2. Domesticity: Her Subjectivity and Subjection
3. Personal Narratives: The 'Cultural Other' Scripts Her-Story
4. Novels: The Novelties and the Realties of her Life
5. Travel Writings: Her Travails and Negotiations
6. Concluding Note: Reception of her Creative Self
About the Author

About the author: 

Maroona Murmu teaches in the Department of History, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India. She earned her doctorate from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in 2012. Her research primarily focuses on women's writing in nineteenth-century Bengal.

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