AbstractThis paper addresses the position and culturally loaded presentation of the South Asian woman writer in two colonial Bengali texts. Through a comparative analysis of Rabindranath Tagore’s “Nashtanir” (1901) and Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain’s Sultana’s Dream (1905), it explores the way in which both texts sought to engage with debates surrounding the education of women in the early twentieth century. It argues that the development of Charu’s extra-marital relationship in “Nashtanir,” coupled with Tagore’s representation of her as simple, superficial, and dangerous, gave weight to the claim that women’s education may contribute to a waning interest in domestic duties and facilitate the capacity to engage in extra-marital relationships. However, the analysis of Sultana’s Dream alternatively shows that the woman writer in colonial Bengal used her position to protest the barriers to women’s education in this context. By generating a text that invited its readers to engage in wider educational practises, Hossain produced a politically charged appeal which served to challenge misconceptions surrounding women’s education in colonial Bengal.
Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik – de Gruyter
Published: Mar 28, 2018
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