Amardeep Singh's Best Literature Blog Posts

This page is a short list of what I consider to be my best literary blog posts. These writings might be thought of as a kind of general interest literary criticism that might supplement my conventional publication record. The writing is aimed at a lay readership with an interest in literature, as well as colleagues in other "fields" within literature. One of my main goals in writing and posting them is to share information with a "public," or readers beyond the gates of the university.

Needless to say, the writing style one uses in a blog post is less formal than the kind of writing one uses for academic journals. Blog posts are also admittedly less likely to "endure" the way a well-written and researched work of formal literary criticism might. But the posts below are written with care, and they have sometimes had a surprisingly broad audience. Some posts rank highly on Google searches for their subjects, which means I continue to get visitors looking for comments on Azar Nafisi or Philip Roth long after my post on the author in question is gone from the "front page" of the blog. My posts on "Teaching Katherine Mansfield" and "Early Bengali Science Fiction" have been linked to by Inside Higher Ed, and my comments on the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk were cited in a major daily Turkish newspaper. The blog has also been linked to twice by

Particularly with South Asian literature, I'm interested in sharing my knowledge and entering into discussions with people for whom this literature is not at all a marginal or obscure academic pursuit. Many readers will have grown up reading writers like Ajeet Cour or Sukumar Ray, often in the original languages. Blog posts dealing with their works can thus facilitate a unique kind of exchange: I benefit by gaining "insider" details and reference points that might not otherwise be easy to learn from conventional research methods. Meanwhile, my readers may appreciate the chance to see topics covered that are rarely addressed in other media and print venues.

Some of my posts refer to teaching experiences. When I write these types of posts, I limit myself to my own impressions of what it's like to teach a particular author. I never criticize my students, and I generally try to keep in mind what they would say if they came across my blog posts. Interestingly, these posts might have some potential pedagogical benefit for others: I have heard back from colleagues at other universities who have used my posts in preparing to teach some of the texts I've referred to.

I don't refer very extensively to literary theory in my blog posts, partly because I want my writing to be accessible to a lay audience, and the idiom of theory seems better suited for formal publication. However, at times I have engaged with theoretical issues that have been on my mind. Links to some of my more speculative and theoretical posts come at the end of the list below.

Mostly Contemporary British, American, and World Literature

China Miéville's The Scar (Valve)
Ian McEwan's Atonement
Zadie Smith's On Beauty
The Kite Runner
Norman Corwin: Poet Journalist
Octavia Butler
Syed Akbar Hyder's Come Back To Afghanistan
Philip Roth's The Plot Against America
Azar Nafisi as a Literary Critic
Orhan Pamuk's Snow (Valve)
Byatt's The Game
John Berryman
James Wood's Book Against God
Kurban Said
A Lecture on Literature (Teaching Journal)
Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase (Book Review)
John Hollander
George Eliot skips Church (Biographical Note)

South Asian Literature

Early Bengali Science Fiction (A popular post; part 1 of 2)
Sultana's Dream, Feminist Utopias (part 2 of 2)
R.K. Narayan, Malgudi Days (Revisiting a classic author)
Raja Rao and Czeslaw Milosz (Author Profile)
William Dalrymple's City of Djinns (Book Review)
Katherine Mayo's Mother India (The back-story behind this controversial text from the 1920s)
Saadat Hasan Manto's Letters To Uncle Sam (A Look at lesser-known essays by a great Urdu Writer)
Contemporary Pakistani Writers (Quick Survey)
Tagore in America (At Sepia Mutiny)
Amrita Pritam (Author Profile)
All About H. Hatterr (Rediscovering an example of Indian Modernism from the 1940s; part 1 of 2)
In Praise of Balderdash (and other words for nonsense) (part 2 of 2)
Indian English: Hobson-Jobson
'Indian English': Does it Exist?
Amitav Ghosh (and me) on NPR (part 1 of 2)
After-Interview Analysis (part 2 of 2)
Agha Shahid Ali, Ghazals in English
Borges and India
Amitav Ghosh, The Hungry Tide (Book Review)
Ajeet Cour: A Punjabi Writer (Author Profile)
Ramo Samee, Thackeray, Hazlitt (Early 19th Century Cultural History)
SAWCC Conference Notes
Samrat Upadhyay (Book Review)
India-Oriented Works at Gutenberg (Resource)
Jews from India: Burnt Bread and Chutney (Book Review; Diasporic Cultural History)
Sarah MacDonald's Holy Cow (Book Review)
Nirad Chaudhuri (Teaching Journal)
Yusef Komunyakaa in India (An African American Poet Goes to Calcutta)
Nirmal Verma (Avant-Garde Hindi Writer; Author Profile)
Teaching: Travel Writers
Notes: Conference on South Asia
Amitava Kumar, South Asian Literary Criticism (review of Bombay, London, New York)
Satan and Shaitan (From Milton to The Satanic Verses)
V.S. Naipaul Controversy (Secularism and the Study of Indian History)
Versions of the Ramayana
Githa Hariharan and A.S. Byatt
Suketu Mehta and Samina Ali (Conference Notes)
Amitav Ghosh on Tsunami Relief
Behzti (Censorship Controversy in the UK)
Behzti 2
Sukumar Ray
Suketu Mehta's Maximum City
Mulk Raj Anand
Manju Kapur
Partha Chatterjee's 'A Princely Imposter?'


Auden and China
Auden and Bruegel vs. Icarus
Robert Frost, "The Flood"
Irish English?
Science and Poetry II
Science and Poetry I
Wallace Stevens
Orwell III: The Road to Wigan Pier
Orwell II: Shadiness
Orwell I: Orwell and Michael Moore
Bloomsday 100 pt. 2
Bloomsday 100 pt. 1
Masterpieces and Modernism: Marjorie Perloff (Valve)
Fat Ulysses (Valve)
Masterpieces and Modernism: Marjorie Perloff (Valve)
H.D., Hilda Doolittle
Katherine Mansfield

Engaging Literary Theory

Theorizing Blogging, Theorizing Theory (Valve)
Texture Words
Rumpelstiltskin and Narrative Theory
Toy/Story Theory
Intro to Edward Said
Challenges to Postcolonial Theory (Valve)
"Smart" Criticism
Berube's Employment of English
Composition Without Rhetoric: John Guillory