Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-99c86f546-4hcbs Total loading time: 0.315 Render date: 2021-11-27T23:41:25.445Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

5 - The Locations and Dislocations of Toru and Aru Dutt

from SECTION I - THE BROAD NINETEENTH CENTURY: INDIANS IN ENGLISH AND THE ENGLISH IN INDIA

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2016

Tricia Lootens
Affiliation:
University of Georgia
Rosinka Chaudhuri
Affiliation:
Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta
Get access

Summary

Whether as translator, critic, and anthologist; groundbreaking female experimenter in the Indian novel in English; first female Indian writer to publish a novel in French; or, most famously, the poet of Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan, Toru Dutt (1856–77) claims her place within any serious introduction to Indian literary history – a place inseparable from the challenges of defining “Indian literature” itself. Aru Dutt, Toru's elder sister (1854–74), lived only long enough to complete eight verse translations. Still, by right of those pieces, her contributions to sisterly collaborative literary visions, and the significance of her loss for Toru Dutt's larger self-positioning as writer, Aru Dutt, too, has her own place here.

What might “India” have meant in the time of Toru and Aru Dutt? What might English have meant – and what does it still mean – within the literature of India? To ask what might be “Indian,” within that rich, varied body of writing which Toru Dutt produced, so far as we now know, in English and French, is to raise such questions. Domestically overdetermined, yet culturally alienating, Toru and Aru Dutt's turns to Western languages helped shape an Indian literature whose power seems to spring “not from the site of a monolithic ‘truth’ and ‘native’ authenticity, but from the infinitely more fascinating site … of reinvention and improvisation.”

Born, like their elder brother Abju, into a family already establishing the “genealogical chart of early Indian English literature,” Toru and Aru Dutt divided their privileged, sequestered, yet cosmopolitan childhood between their family's Calcutta city house in Rambagan and a beloved country home at Baugmaree. Nilmoni Dutt, their great-grandfather, was a distinguished figure with ties to “many prominent Englishmen”; their grandfather Rasamoy Dutt, who served on the managing committees of both the Hindu College and the Sanskrit College, possessed a “splendid collection of English books.” The children's father, Govin Chunder, joined other English-speaking poets of his family in publishing the 1870 Dutt Family Album, the first anthology of English poetry by Bengalis.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×