Harnessing the Currents of Textual Fluidity: Salman Rushdie's Making of East, West"

Main Article Content

Russell McDonald

Abstract

Ever since Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Salman Rushdie to death in 1989 for, in essence, remaking the story of the Prophet Muhammad in The Satanic Verses, Rushdie has repeatedly explored in his works how bringing newness into the world and securing the right to freedom of expression both require challenging traditional assumptions about textual purity. This theme in Rushdie testifies to the real-world implications of current efforts in textual scholarship to represent texts not as authoritative repositories of sacrosanct wisdom but as, in John Bryant’s word, “fluid” conveyors of ever-shifting intentions and meanings. This article focuses on Rushdie’s deployment of textual fluidity in his shaping of his 1994 short story collection East, West. It analyzes selected examples of his revisions by comparing the texts of the volume’s first six stories as they appear in East, West to their earlier published versions, and also by examining unpublished typescripts and proofs relating to East, West in the Salman Rushdie Papers at Emory University. By tracing the evolution of his stories through multiple versions and considering his revisions in light of his conception for East, West as a whole, we learn that Rushdie employs textual fluidity as both a multivalent literary motif and an empowering compositional strategy, often in synergistic ways that affect the work’s interpretive possibilities and yield a deeper understanding of the fluidities not only of language but also of concepts vital to identity for him and his characters, especially East, West, culture, and race.

Downloads

Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Section
Articles
Author Biography

Russell McDonald, Georgian Court University

Assistant Professor of English

References

Bahri, Deepika. 2007. “The Shorter Fiction”. In The Cambridge Companion to Salman Rushdie, edited by Abdulrazak Gurnah, 139–151. Cambridge: Cambridge Univer-sity Press.

Baldwin, T. W. 1944. William Shakspere’s Small Latine & Lesse Greeke. 2 vols. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Beck, Rudolf. 1998. “Close Encounters of the Third Kind: Salman Rushdie’s Short Story Cycle East, West”. Anglia 116.3: 355 –38 0.

Bevington, David, ed. 1997. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Updated 4th ed. New York: Longman.

Bryant, John. 2002. The Fluid Text: A Theory of Revision and Editing for Book and Screen. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

———. 2013. “Wound, Beast, Revision: Versions of the Melville Meme”. In The New Cambridge Companion to Herman Melville. Edited by Robert S. Levine, 202–218. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chauhan, Pradyumna S., ed. 2001. Salman Rushdie Interviews: A Sourcebook of His Ideas. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Fowler, H. W. 1965. A Dictionary of Modern Usage, revised by Sir Ernest Gowers. 2nd ed. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ganapathy-Doré, Geetha. 2009. “Shakespeare in Rushdie/Shakespearean Rush-d ie”. Atlantis: Journal of the Spanish Association of Anglo-American Studies 31.2: 9 –22.Gane, Gillian. 2001. “Mixed-Up, Jumble-Aya, and English: ‘How Newness Enters the World’ in Salman Rushdie’s ‘The Courter’”. ARIEL: A Review of International Eng-lish Literature 32.4: 47– 68.

Goonetilleke, D. C. R. A. 2010. Salman Rushdie. 2nd ed. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan.

Guerrero-Strachan, Santiago Rodriguez, and Ana Sáez Hidalgo. 2008. “The Fooler Fooled: Salman Rushdie’s Hybrid Revision of William Shakespeare’s HamletThrough ‘Yorick’”. In Native Shakespeares: Indigenous Approaches on a Global Stage.Edited by Craig Dionne and Parmita K apadi a, 73–87. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Jenkins, Harold, ed. [1982] 2000. Hamlet. The Arden Shakespeare. London: Thom-son Learning.

Kuortti, Joel. 1997. The Salman Rushdie Bibliography: A Bibliography of Salman Rush-die’s Work and Rushdie Criticism. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.

Mahaffey, Vicki. 1991. “Intentional Error: The Paradox of Editing Joyce’s Ulysses”. In Representing Modernist Texts: Editing as Interpretation. Edited by George Born-stein, 171–191. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Mishra, Vijay. 2012a. “Salman Rushdie, Aesthetics and Bollywood Popular Culture”. Thesis Eleven 113.1: 112 –128.

——— . 2 0 1 2 b . What Was Multiculturalism?: A Critical Retrospect. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Publishing.