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Author: Andrew Teverson

Salman Rushdie is one of the world's most important writers of politicised fiction. He is a self-proclaimed controversialist, capable of exciting radically divergent viewpoints; a novelist of extraordinary imaginative range and power; and an erudite, and often fearless, commentator upon the state of global politics today. This critical study examines the intellectual, biographical, literary and cultural contexts from which Rushdie's fiction springs, in order to help the reader make sense of the often complex debates that surround the life and work of this major contemporary figure. It also offers detailed critical readings of all Rushdie's novels, from Grimus through to Shalimar the Clown.

Sara Upstone

1 Salman Rushdie and V. S. Naipaul Diaspora that we were, we became static and in this stasis relapsed into mythology, initially through epic remembrance of the Indian past and subsequently through Bombay cinema. Nor did our lives in the end find an alternative vitality through the postcolonial celebration of the hybrid; rather we remained half and half. 1 Visit the University of London Library located at Senate House, Bloomsbury, and the problem of classifying authors by ethnicity becomes immediately apparent. A researcher wanting to consult work on Salman

in British Asian fiction
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Andrew Teverson

For every text, a context. (Salman Rushdie, 1984, IHL, 92) It is not hard to establish Salman Rushdie’s fame: his novels have sold in their millions and been translated into multiple languages; the MLA international bibliography lists over seven hundred journal articles and book chapters written about his fiction; and there are currently in excess of thirty published monographs on various aspects of his life and work. Rushdie himself makes regular appearances at major international conferences and literary

in Salman Rushdie
Andrew Teverson

Timothy Brennan in his critical study Salman Rushdie and the Third World identifies Rushdie as being a member of a distinctive and historically original group of writers that has come to prominence in the period following the formal dissolution of the British Empire. These writers are described by Brennan as Third World cosmopolitans : migrant intellectuals who are identified with a Western metropolitan elite in terms of class, literary preferences and educational background, but who, by virtue of ethnicity, are also presented by the

in Salman Rushdie
Andrew Teverson

In a journalistic reflection on the Granta Magazine selection of the ‘Best of the Young British Novelists’ for 1993, Salman Rushdie rejects the idea, temporarily mooted in the early 1990s, that the years of Margaret Thatcher’s government (1979–90) had produced a ‘lost generation’ of writers. Such a notion, Rushdie suggests, is disproved by the most cursory survey of a literary scene that includes such budding luminaries as Louis de Bernières, Tibor Fischer, Lawrence Norfolk and A. L. Kennedy. Nevertheless,, Rushdie goes on to imply

in Salman Rushdie
Andrew Teverson

mischievous. Readers who try to tease out links between Rushdie’s life and Rushdie’s fiction are likely to end up feeling teased.’ 6 Far more useful is the understanding Rushdie’s biography gives us of the cultural, social and political locations of a writer for whom such locations are crucially important. It is in this spirit that the following account is written. On the eve of partition Salman Rushdie’s parents, Anis Ahmed Rushdie and Negin Rushdie (née Butt), elected to leave Anis’s home city of Delhi and move south-west to Bombay. They had

in Salman Rushdie
Haroun and the Sea of Stories and The Moor’s Last Sigh
Andrew Teverson

In real life the Guppees would lose the war. They’re a shambles. (Salman Rushdie, 1998) 1 Forget Mumbai. I remember Bombay. (Salman Rushdie, 1999, GBF, 158) At the midnight moment of Independence the new Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, made a now famous address to the nation that has remained a testament to the optimism of the times. In this speech, which is cited several times in Midnight’s Children , Nehru gives voice to his desire to create a secular, democratic, tolerant

in Salman Rushdie
The Ground Beneath Her Feet and Fury
Andrew Teverson

It’s time you finally high-tailed it out of the British Empire. (Salman Rushdie, 1999, GBF, 330) Eat me, America. (Salman Rushdie, 2001, F, 44) Rushdie’s bitter critique of Abraham’s cynical business practices in The Moor’s Last Sigh tends, overwhelmingly, to emphasise the destructive effects of rapacious economic globalism in India. Corruption, hypocrisy, violent crime and secret links with back-alley politics are daily fare for the super-capitalist Abraham, and all resources

in Salman Rushdie
Grimus and Midnight’s Children
Andrew Teverson

Any intellect which confines itself to mere structuralism is bound to rest trapped in its own webs. (Salman Rushdie, Grimus , 1975, G, 91) Back then I was partial to science fiction novels. (Salman Rushdie, The Ground Beneath Her Feet , 1999, GBF, 205) Scenarios borrowed from science fiction fantasy appear in several of Rushdie’s novels. Haroun and the Sea of Stories features a journey to a magical moon on an automaton bird, The Satanic Verses alludes to the genre self

in Salman Rushdie
Andrew Teverson

O my body, make of me always a man who questions! (Frantz Fanon, 1952) 1 So I went on with my devilment, changing verses. (Salman Rushdie, 1988, SV, 368) In 1988, after a short creative detour to Nicaragua in his travelogue The Jaguar Smile , Rushdie published his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses . Like Midnight’s Children and Shame before it, The Satanic Verses is a strongly satirical text that takes, as one of its dominant socio-political agendas, the condemnation

in Salman Rushdie