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The bengal connection: Transnationalising America in The Namesake and The Tree Bride
Published in -
Volume: 7
Issue: 1
Pages: 57 - 70
A reading is presented of The Namesake and The Tree Bride as diasporic novels that transnationalise the host culture by inscribing the ethnicity and history of Bengal on to the cultural topography of America. This interpolation is contextualised both in terms of the 'Bengal connection' - the now occluded saga of Bengal's rich commercial and intellectual contacts withN ew England from the seventeenth to the nineteenth centuries - and the changing paradigms of immigrant socialisation from the melting pot to multiculturalism and beyond. The inference drawn is that the non- Eurocentric and non-Atlantic 'Bengal connection', which may be taken as emblematic of other such strands in American society, not only troubles monologic myths of 'Americanness', but simultaneously interrogates thes uffi ciency of the 'Atlantic' template as the marker of a multi-ethnic nation. A suggested alternative is Tagore's 'vernacular nationalism' that admits intrinsic otherness as integral to its conception of national identity. © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2009.
About the journal
JournalComparative American Studies