26.4. Investigating embodiment in autobiographical writing by Indian women: Prabhā Khetān’s and Ramṇikā Guptā’s autobiographies

Ústav jižní a centrální Asie

všechny srdečně zve na tuto přednášku, kterou přednese Dr. Alessandra Consolaro z Università di Torino

ve čtvrtek 26.4.2018 od 9:10 v místnosti č. 427.

 

Přednáška se zabývá dvěma slavnými a kontroverzními indickými autobiografiemi, z nichž jedna pojednává o osudech “té druhé” ženy v životě jednoho muže a druhá o roli sexu v raném věku i pozdější kariéře známé indické autorky a političky.

Abstract

My lecture starts with a brief introduction on autobiographical writing in South Asia. It analyzes autobiographical writing by two eminent Indian women, focusing on embodiment. In the first part, I will present how embodiment is articulated in Prabhā Khetān’s autobiography Anyā se ananyā, first published in 2007, introducing the text as an existentialist autobiography – focusing on the existential self – and emphasizing the complexity of embodiment and its implications for identity and self-representation. Best known as the writer who introduced French feminist existentialism to Hindi-speaking readers through her translation of Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex, Prabhā Khetān wrote an autobiography that is both an unusual woman’s intellectual and personal journey, the success story of a professional woman as well as a profoundly moving reflection on human relationships.

In the second part, I will discuss Ramṇikā Guptā’s strategies in the narration of her life story as it is constructed in two autobiographical volumes that she has published so far: Hādse(2005) and Āphudrī(2015). Ramṇikā Guptā is a former trade union leader and politician, tribal rights activist, writer and editor. My claim is that Ramṇikā Guptā blurs genre definitions, oscillating between autobiography and memoir, focusing on embodiment and memory as tools to shape her private and public persona.

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