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Salman Rushdie, aesthetics and Bollywood popular culture

Mishra, V. (2012) Salman Rushdie, aesthetics and Bollywood popular culture. Thesis Eleven, 113 (1). pp. 112-128.

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This essay deals with the manner in which Salman Rushdie’s works engage with the heterogeneous logics of ethics and aesthetics. Drawing upon the work of Jacques Rancière it is argued that Rushdie neutralizes the two by introducing what Rancière calls a dissensus in the ethical-aesthetic hierarchy. The dissensus works on a principle of ‘excess’ so that within the domain of aesthetics the ethical is pushed to its limits. The order of desire (aesthetics) and the order of knowledge (ethics) are no longer seen as hierarchical and mutually exclusive categories. By examining two versions of an unpublished novel by Rushdie (‘Madame Rama’) it is suggested that Bollywood cinema functions as a mode in which the two orders come together. In this early and mercifully unpublished novel, one finds the beginnings of Rushdie’s belief that works of art are sites of ideological and ethical contestations.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Publisher: Sage Publications
Copyright: 2012 The Author
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