Narrating to Survive: Ethics and Aesthetics in Githa Hariharan’s <i>When Dreams Travel<i>

Authors

  • Chitra Sankaran, National University of Singapore

Abstract

Githa Hariharan, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Fiction (1993), explores significant issues with regard to narrativity in her novel, When Dreams Travel. The narrator weaves around Scheherazade – or Shahrzad of the Arabian Nights – a vibrant and inventive story about a perennially played out game: the quest for love and power. Between the Sultan who wants a virgin every night and his brother who has felt the bitter taste of betrayed love exist two women, two ambitious brides, who are the sisters Shahrzad and Dunyazad, aspiring to be heroines or martyrs. The tale that unravels with all the tour-de-force of a modern myth explores a range of issues – the fallibility of narrative and the crisis involved in the act of narrativity itself. It engages with questions of ethics and the importance of aesthetics to ethics.

    In my paper I shall be engaging with all of these above issues trying to explore the edge of meaning in extreme acts of narrativity such as in Shahrzad’s case and how these impact on questions of ethics and aesthetics in narratives.

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Author Biography

Chitra Sankaran, National University of Singapore

Chitra Sankaran is an Associate Professor with the Department of English Language and Literature, National University of Singapore. Her areas of research interest include Singapore-Malaysian literature, South Asian fictions and feminist theory. She is currently editing a volume of essays on Amitav Ghosh and is also working on a project researching Ethics and Aesthetics in Global Indian Fictions. She has published monographs/books, edited volumes, and chapters in books. She has research articles in The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, ARIEL, World Literature Written in English, Journal of South Asian Literature, and elsewhere. She is an Invited Member of the Editorial Committee for the Canadian online journal The Postcolonial Text, and also served as judge on the regional panel of the Commonwealth Writers Prize for the Asia-Pacific region, in 2008.

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Published

2008-12-15

How to Cite

Sankaran, National University of Singapore, C. (2008). Narrating to Survive: Ethics and Aesthetics in Githa Hariharan’s &lt;i&gt;When Dreams Travel&lt;i&gt;. Asiatic: IIUM Journal of English Language and Literature, 2(2), 65–72. Retrieved from https://journals.iium.edu.my/asiatic/index.php/ajell/article/view/361

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Articles