An Aesthetics of Isolation: How Pudumaippittan Gave Pre-Eminence to the Tamil Short Story

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Abstract

The influential Tamil writer Pudumaippittan turned to the short story to theorise the relationship between literature and society in the late colonial era. He used the genre’s brevity to compress his portrayals of well-known female types—such as widows, prostitutes and goodwives—into singular emotional events. This enabled Pudumaippittan to evoke the wider debates about tradition and modernity that these female types commonly represented without affirming the social reformist positions to which they were linked. Through the short story, Pudumaippittan dislodged his portrayals of the Indian woman from existing gender norms, prompting a shift from social realism to modernist realism within the Tamil literary sphere.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)926-942
Number of pages17
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies
Volume43
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science

Keywords

  • Character type
  • emotion
  • genre
  • Indian woman
  • modernism
  • novel
  • short story
  • social realism
  • Tamil literature
  • Tamil nationalism

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