September 20, 2020

Foss Publishes Article on Indian English-Language Poetry and the Irish Question

This summer, Professor of English Chris Foss published an article entitled “Fin-de-Siècle Indian English-Language Poetry: British Imperialism, India, and the Irish Question” in English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920.  Now in its 58th year, ELT is one of the most established venues for scholarly work on literature from the late Victorian, Edwardian, and early Modernist periods.

In this article, Foss details how three Indian English-language poets living and publishing in India during the 1890s—Avadh Behari Lall, Aurobindo Ghose, and Romesh Chunder Dutt—wrote in support of Irish Home Rule, and how their work meaningfully counters the orientalist assumption/insistence that Indian English-language poetry limit itself to exclusively Indian contexts/foci.  Such an international scope, while complementary to the more properly local focus of most Indian anti-imperialist agendas, significantly reveals the extent to which their poetry contained a cosmopolitan component that ultimately cannot be reduced to some sort of partial engagement with Irish nationalism merely as a means of co­vertly commenting on India.  Their work suggests the global reach of Indian English-language poetry, displaying a broad range of responses to the Irish Question while offering truly penetrating individual insights into the nature of imperial rule and the politics of British imperialism beyond the “borders” of the Indian subcontinent.