What, if any, is the relation between literature and politics? This book seeks to demonstrate, from the standpoint of a political militant, that radical aesthetics and radical politics can only be thought in terms of compossibility, not relationality. It contends that literature should be thought, not in terms of the use of art for politics, but in terms of politics in art as its use. In the first instance, use is meant to connote instrumentalism, while in the second case use signifies Marx’s use-value as the determinate negation of the structure of exchange-relations by virtue of being the determinate excess of the means/ends duality.
Written in a rigorous style, this work not only sheds new light on two major literary voices of the Subcontinent but also offers a singular articulation of the relationship of literature and politics by rethinking ontology itself. This is an excellent book. – Aniruddha Chowdhury, author of Post-deconstructive Subjectivity and History: Phenomenology, Critical Theory, and Postcolonial Thought (Brill, 2013)
Pothik Ghosh is one of the most dynamic thinkers on the left in India today. Drawing on a deep knowledge of literature in Hindi and Bengali, as well as an equally profound engagement with western Marxist theory, this book offers a model of rigorous and self-conscious thinking through verbal art to reveal its commensurability with the problems of political struggle. – Jesse Ross Knutson, Assistant Professor of Sanskrit and Bengali, Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures, University of Hawai’I at Manoa