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Presented By: Center for South Asian Studies

CSAS Lecture Series | The Prose Poetry of Partition: Saadat Hasan Manto’s Siyah Hashiye (Black Margins) and Formal Experimentation

Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington

Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington
Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington
In 1948, Saadat Hasan Manto published Siyah Hashiye (Black Margins), a collection of vignettes and prose poems on the everyday violence of Partition. Manto’s work troubles the distinction between progressivism and modernism, and points to the formal experimentation that pervaded mid twentieth-century Urdu writing. In this talk, I focus on what I identify as Manto’s prose poems in Siyah Hashiye, which may be the most powerful and unsettling work of fiction on the Partition. Manto blends aspects of ghazal poetry with attention to print layout to produce an experience of the now that rejects the lyrical while also invoking it. By placing Manto within the context of contemporary modernist poets N.M. Rashed and Miraji, this talk shows how Siyah Hashiye responded to experiments with free verse and ideas of modern poetry to create a kind of anti-poetry. As such, the talk outlines the importance of poetic experimentation for postcolonial South Asian literatures and exposes how Partition occasioned formal as well as thematic breaks.

Jennifer Dubrow is Associate Professor of Urdu at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is the author of Cosmopolitan Dreams: The Making of Modern Urdu Literary Culture in Colonial South Asia (University of Hawai’i Press, 2018; Permanent Black, 2019), as well as several articles on modern Urdu prose fiction. She is writing a book, currently titled Partitioned Forms, on Progressivism, modernism, and formal experimentation in Urdu fiction from the 1930s to the 1960s.

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us. Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington
Jennifer Dubrow, University of Washington

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