Title

The Insectesimal tall tale : historical catachresis and ethics in the science fiction of Premendra Mitra

Document Type

Journal article

Source Publication

Journal of Postcolonial Writing

Publication Date

2017

Volume

Advance online publication

Publisher

Routledge

Keywords

Bengali science fiction, colonial science, tall tale, historical catachresis, ethics

Abstract

This article examines how the young adult Bengali science fiction (SF) of Premendra Mitra (1904–88) presents an alternative model of colonial science and history which is routed through the genre of the tall tale. Mitra’s works are located within the history of science fiction writings in Bengal and the article proposes that his tales can be analysed as instances of “historical catachresis” – a stretching of historical time and place. It examines the tall tale as an attempt to reformulate the national-regional binary of earlier Bengali SF into a cosmopolitan world-space by constructing an ethics of writing that operates within the dual framework of the tall tale’s “non-believability” and the positivist-scientific thrust of SF. The article concludes that the genre of SF, when blended with that of the tall tale, inaugurates the reclaiming of a postcolonial narrative space by recognizing the “other” within a framework of ethics.

DOI

10.1080/17449855.2017.1332676

Print ISSN

17449855

E-ISSN

17449863

Publisher Statement

Copyright © 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Access to external full text or publisher's version may require subscription.

Full-text Version

Publisher’s Version

Recommended Citation

Bhattacharya, A., & Hiradhar, P. (2017). The Insectesimal tall tale: Historical catachresis and ethics in the science fiction of Premendra Mitra. Journal of Postcolonial Writing. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/17449855.2017.1332676