Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1952) pioneers the tradition of Indian-Parsee Women's literature in English. She is also one of the earliest women in India to fictionalize the Indian woman in the English language.
Sorabji was a prolific writer, and along with her memoirs, India Calling, her biographies of her parents and of her sister, she published fiction and prose. Love and Life Behind the Purdah, her first published book contains some of her most moving and skillfully crafted short fiction. The stories range from the Hindu purdahnashin and the women of the Zoroastrian priesthood to the ordinary men, women and children of India.
They encapsulate themes of child-marriage and barrenness, sati, purdah, and various other highly controversial women's issues of early nineteenth-century India. Interwoven is Sorabji's concern for her beautiful and lonely women protagonists, and her frustrated ambitions to liberate them from their enforced and often self-willed surrender to role identities and an inflexible patriarchy.
Love and Life is a significant contribution to women's studies, and will be of interest to scholars of Indian literature, as well as the general reader.
(Note: Jacket Photographs: Period images of Parsee ladies by Amichand Deen Dayal; courtesy Foto Crafts.)
About the Author:
Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1952) was the first Indian woman to pass the BCL (Bachelor of Law) examination from Oxford University, and the first Indian Woman advocate. She made invaluable contributions to the legal rights of Indian women and to Indian English prose and fiction.
Chandani Lokuge, the editor, is a lecturer in English, and Director of the Centre for Postcolonial Writing, School of Literary, Visual and Performance Studies, Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
Experts from Reviews:
'This new edition of Love and Life behind the Purdah will force us to re-evaluate the beginnings of Indian writing in English. More topically perhaps, it will force a reassessment of the origins of the post-colonial response to British rule in India. ... The editor has mined a rich and untapped vein of cultural life in a colonized India. This [volume] is comprehensively annotated and rigorously historical, [and] has also [been] situated very astutely in contemporary debates about colonialist representation.'
-Bill Ashcroft, University of New South Wales, Australia.
'India Calling, Cornelia Sorabji's enjoyable autobiography is an important historical document... The reissue...edited by Chandani Lokuge...provides a thoughtful introduction examining Sorabji's political and social mores in the light of theories of colonialism, identity formation and feminist ideology.'
-Uma Das Gupta, Times Literary Supplement
Note on the Text
Cornelia Sorabji (1866-1954)
A Chronology of Cornelia Sorabji
Introduction by Chandani Lokuge
Love and Life Behind the Purdah
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