Strategies of Writing Under/After Censorship: Aesopian Utterance and Poonachi (80784)

Session Information: Literature/Literary Studies
Session Chair: Imti Watitula Longkumer

Saturday, 25 May 2024 14:50
Session: Session 4
Room: Room 608
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

All presentation times are UTC + 9 (Asia/Tokyo)

A close reading of writing under/after censorship reveals that writers use many strategies to bypass the censor. These strategies are often acts of self-censorship that are employed by writers to speak to their audience in a coded language. The publication of the translation of Perumal Murugan’s Madhorubagan triggered a scandal that forced the writer to go into a self-imposed exile. When he came back two years later, with Poonachi; Or the Story of a Black Goat, the difference was rather obvious. His mode of writing, his characters and their setting had completely changed. This paper would use Lev Loseff’s concept of ‘aesopian writing’, to understand Murugan’s dual strategy of concealing/displaying to escape the censor’s gaze. Although Murugan does not come from the tradition of aesopian writing, his post-controversy works reveal that the tools he uses are of similar nature. Loseff discusses the presence of a screen and marker in an aesopian text that conceals and exposes it, respectively. I will be using Loseff’s On the Beneficence of Censorship: Aesopian Language in Modern Russian Literature to determine how Murugan has used these tools in his writing. This paper would also look at Madhorubagan and Poonachi side by side to trace the evolution of Murugan’s writing through the scandal. The controversial novel would be read in its context of realist fiction, while the post-controversy novel would be read as an aesopian text.

Keerthi Sebastian, English and Foreign Languages University, India

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Keerthi Sebastian is a University Doctoral Student at English and Foreign Languages University in India

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00