ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Historicality in Literature: Subalternist Misrepresentations

In History at the Limits of World History, the historian Ranajit Guha makes an extraordinary plea - for the historian to 'recover the living history of the quotidian' and to 'recuperate the historicality of what is humble and habitual' so as to turn the historian into a 'creative writer'. Yet Tagore, whose essay Guha cites in his work, and much later J M Coetzee, had protested at literature being subsumed by history; a history that was taken to be a 'fixed, selfevident reality to which the novel was supposed to bear witness'. While the question whether creative writing is a better way of writing subaltern history is to be debated, the repercussions of such a move on the future course of subaltern historiography remain to be seen.

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