Who is the Reader? Literary Activism and the Mehrotra Campaign

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3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Russell Square: College Buildings
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About this event

Amit Chaudhuri (novelist, critic, Professor at the University of East Anglia)

In 2009, Amit Chaudhuri and Prof Peter D McDonald nominated the Indian poet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra for the Professorship of Poetry at Oxford. The intention was to bring to Oxford and the wider world's attention a highly original poet, translator, and essayist, but the nomination and ensuing campaign were also meant to raise a number of questions about a conventional English literature pedagogy and its star system on the one hand, and about a changed, market-driven scenario in literary publishing on the other. Here, Chaudhuri considers not only the campaign but also its prehistory, to do with the nineties, when the "literary" changed subtly but immeasurably.