Reimagining Island Poetics: Seminal Research on N S Madhavan’s Novel


Dr Soni Wadhwa, Assistant Professor at the Department of Literature and Languages and her research scholar, Ms Jintu Alias, from the Easwari School of Liberal Arts at SRM University-AP, have published their seminal research paper titled “Provincialising Island Poetics: The Personal as the Spatial in N S Madhavan’s Litanies of Dutch Battery.”
Their research delves into the intricate relationship between personal experiences and spatial representations, challenging traditional island narratives. Focusing on the island city of Kochi and its rich history of cosmopolitanism, they aim to draw attention to alternative island spaces in India and Asia. Furthermore, they are convinced that their work will inspire further studies and creative writing on cultural traditions in smaller Indian island cities, highlighting the diverse themes and settings that are yet to be explored in Indian literature.


Affect towards islands is a unique approach to engage with in discussions of the phenomenology of fictional islands. This affect complements the already identified tropes within island poetics: those of sensorial exploration, spatial practices, and textural detailing of islands. This article turns to a work of fiction about a fictional island based on the island city of Kochi in south India to unpack an alternative aesthetic of spatiality, the kind that changes the personal/political relationship to personal/spatial one. We argue that the novel, Litanies of Dutch Battery (the novel in question) by N.S. Madhavan, expands inquiries into phenomenology of fictional islands by making space for corporeal memory and collective memory in storytelling. These memory-oriented narrative devices, we suggest, “provincialize” island poetics to add a hermeneutic of postcolonial angst to the repertoire of formal features of literary islandness.

Link to the Article

We wish the pair continued success in their future endeavours!

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