The ugly Americans: Gender, geopolitics and the career of postcolonial cosmopolitanism in the novels of Santha Rama Rau

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Abstract

This essay tracks the career of postcolonial cosmopolitanism and its gendered embodiments using Santha Rama Rau's Cold War novels, Remember the House (1956) and The Adventuress (1970). Rama Rau's heroines, Indira Goray and Catalina Gomez, flirt with geopolitics of a post-war world that appears to offer them new freedoms. They flirt, too, with the possibilities of transnational affiliation and become schooled in very different experiences of "new womanhood" in the context of decolonization. What the heroines and the novels share is a preoccupation with America and Americans, who appear to hold the promise of a new, borderless future. The essay examines Rama Rau's ambivalence about the virtues of the US as a Cold War superpower, registering some claims about the fate of the female postcolonial novelist in the process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-19
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Commonwealth Literature
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

Keywords

  • American power
  • Career
  • Cold War
  • Cosmopolitanism
  • Nationalism
  • Postcolonialism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory

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