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In this critical examination of the famous South Asian thinker Nirad C. Chaudhuri (1897–1999), a notorious Anglophile and defender of Empire, Ian Almond analyses the factors that played a role in the evolution of his thought. Almond explores how Empire creates 'native informants', enabling local subjects to alienate themselves from and even abhor their own cultures. Through analysis of Chaudhuri's views on Islam, his use of the archive, moments of melancholy and loss in his writing, and his opinions on empire, Almond dissects the constitution of an Indian writer and locates the precise ways in which Chaudhuri was able to produce the kind of discourses he did, exploring how conservative, pro-Western intellectuals are formed in postcolonial environments. A strong comparative element places Chaudhuri's views in the context of conservative intellectuals from Latin America, the Middle East and South Asia, concluding with a consideration of present-day 'native informants' from these regions.Read more
- Uses the writer Nirad C. Chaudhuri to revisit South Asian intellectual history
- Attempts to see a South Asian thinker tri-continentally – considering Chaudhuri in Middle Eastern and Latin American contexts
- Considers the phenomenon of the native informant and suggests how these figures were produced in colonial societies
Reviews & endorsements
"Cultural and geographical deracination decisively shaped the thought of the modern Asian intelligentsia. In Ian Almond's subtle portrait of an intractably conservative, even reactionary, Indian intellectual, we are brought closer to the complex process that produces the native informant as well as the anti-Western radical."
Pankaj Mishra, author of From the Ruins of Empire: The Revolt Against the West and the Remaking of AsiaSee more reviews
"Nirad C. Chaudhuri is to postcolonial discourse what Joseph de Maistre is to modern European thought: a contrarian intellect that demands serious critical engagement. In giving us the first full-length examination of Chaudhuri's life and writings, Ian Almond is at once scholarly, incisive, and admirably lucid."
Kaiser Haq, University of Dhaka
"By deftly placing Nirad C. Chaudhuri in local and world history, in subterranean, unexpected lineages to do with melancholy and book-collecting, and within his own vivid self-contradictions, Ian Almond gives us a shrewd, eloquent, and much-needed reappraisal of a remarkable man who had, on many levels, embraced the entirety of the twentieth century."
Amit Chaudhuri, University of East Anglia
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- Date Published: February 2018
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107476431
- length: 199 pages
- dimensions: 230 x 154 x 13 mm
- weight: 0.32kg
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Nirad Chaudhuri and the Muslim world
2. Chaudhuri, archive and alienation
3. Chaudhuri, sadness and loss
4. Chaudhuri and empire
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