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Literary article – Swapnadeep Hazra
Literary Activism And How It Demarcates The World Of Writers
“Literary Activism” has always associated itself with the essence- ‘Literary’, I can say that it is doubtful. An activist can bring change with his/her beliefs through demonstrations, sit-ins or strikes like we see in case of social and political activists. Literary activists can bring the desired level of change through moving the focal point towards “New Literature” which is kind of a growing one and still not developed to be a part of the mainstream culture and with “Market Activism” it is tough to be easily a part of cultural capital (through big corporate publishing houses).
Wikipedia says that Literary activism is a form of protest and critique aimed at corporate publishing houses and the literary fiction/nonfiction that they publish. In America as an example we can bring the progenitors- Underground literary Alliance. And to say, this group of writers is notorious for its protests which have included formal complaints about the felicitation of already-wealthy authors with Guggenheim Fellowship.
And this concern should be of paramount importance, because Intersectionality plays a part to create such binary and distinctions. Fame-game and wealth is always bound within being a published author from big publishing houses like Harper-Collins. And if the work gets published from a big university press then it gets the attached label “An Indispensable work” with such big remarks that common readers wow at. And it gets its grim and fatigued outlook when the competition revolves around with such distinctions. Race, Gender, Status, and privileged background play the roles of upliftment and helps to gain the status.
Anti-Establishment movements like “Hungry Generation” in Bengal, “Beat Generation” in America, protests against institutional publishing-gaining trajectory (poets, novelists and essayists).
As being a successor of such idealistic rejection of the binary with bohemian hedonism, for me it is always to question the free play in contemporary society. Amit Choudhuri, Faculty of English Department in East Anglia University said he had not seen any new critical discourses emerged in decades.
Potential diversity has been straightjacketed by the idea of “genre.” Genres are being created in assembly-line fashion and are received as such by readers. Scholarly publishing has expanded too, and is less susceptible to being ambushed by genre. But its rise has been met with the increasing suppression of books and their authors by flag-bearers of assorted political fundamentalisms, leading to fears of a scenario in which, as leading publisher Rukun Advani of Permanent Black has suggested on its blog, the best scholarly books on India are published abroad – Carvaan Magazine.
(Audience’s need and rejecting the critical issues which are low profiled amid such big publishing topics).To tell specifically writers acted as entrepreneurs because they are not differentiating between writing and marketing. And books are now a profit-making product and not a participant in the complex term called literature.
At the inaugural of the UEA-INDIA symposium on Literary Activism, it was said that- Scholarly publishing has expanded too and is less susceptible to being ambushed by genre. But its rise has been met with the increasing suppression of books and their authors by flag-bearers of assorted political fundamentalisms, leading to fears of a scenario in which, as leading publisher Rukun Advani of Permanent Black has suggested on their blog, the best scholarly books on India are published abroad.
From a migrant-non-white writer’s point of view it is always about White-Supremacy, whiteness that is a privileged color in World-Academia. And historical domination of the Anglophone literature suppresses other parts… Works of black writers could not get the desired attention for the concern of todays colored hierarchy distinctions. “Literary Paternity”(Gilbert) plays dominant roles to curb the ‘other’ literature and “New Literature”.
In today’s world, comparatively literary activism is important to break such relational thread and to give the space for entrance to New engagements.
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