In Making Words Matter, Ambreen Hai argues that “literary agency,” or the way in which literature influences the social world, “is a central concern for colonial and postcolonial writers with very different agendas” and that this concern is “inseparable from imaginings of the body” (p. 312). Of the book's eight chapters, which include a theoretical introduction and an epilogue, the most substantial—and successful—ones focus on the novelists Rudyard Kipling, E. M. Forster, and Salman Rushdie. Of these three writers, Forster's focus on the body is the most direct and least “metaphorical”; he sees it as “the fundamental condition for artistic truth.” Kipling and Rushdie use the body more as a metaphor, even though they, too, are concerned with truth-telling—as a challenge to censorship and imperial interests (Kipling) and as a way of “remak[ing] communities” through the imaginative labor that is the ultimate “material, cultural work of postcolonial fictions” (Rushdie;...
Skip Nav Destination
Book Review| February 01 2011
Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature
Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. By Ambreen Hai.
Ohio University Press,
2009. 392 pp. $55.00 (cloth); $26.95 (paper).
Journal of Asian Studies (2011) 70 (1): 171–172.
Satya Mohanty; Making Words Matter: The Agency of Colonial and Postcolonial Literature. Journal of Asian Studies 1 February 2011; 70 (1): 171–172. doi: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0021911810003049
Download citation file: