Writing famine, writing empire: food crisis and anticolonial aesthetics in Liam O’Flaherty's Famine and Bhabani Bhattacharya's So Many Hungers!

Bhattacharya, S. (2019) Writing famine, writing empire: food crisis and anticolonial aesthetics in Liam O’Flaherty's Famine and Bhabani Bhattacharya's So Many Hungers! Irish University Review, 49(1), pp. 54-73. (doi:10.3366/iur.2019.0380)

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Abstract

In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the colonies controlled by the British, the Dutch, and other European countries witnessed a number of devastating famines. These famines did not solely arise for the ‘natural’ reasons of the shortage of rainfall or food availability problems, but were aggravated by the systemic imperialist exploitation of the world by these major European powers. Taking as its case study the two great famines in Ireland and India – the 1845–52 Irish Famine and the 1943–44 Bengal Famine – the essay offers a reading of Liam O'Flaherty's Famine (1937) and Bhabani Bhattacharya's So Many Hungers! (1947). It shows that these works – apart from registering the devastating impact of the famines on the colonial population – have pointed through their powerful uses of content, form, and style to the world-historical reasons of long-term agrarian crisis, political instability, tyranny of the landlord classes, inefficiency of the British Empire, and others as responsible for the famines.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bhattacharya, Dr Sourit
Authors: Bhattacharya, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Journal Name:Irish University Review
Publisher:Edinburgh University Press
ISSN:0021-1427
ISSN (Online):2047-2153
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2019 Edinburgh University Press
First Published:First published in Irish University Review 49(1):54-73
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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