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The First World WarLiterature, Culture, Modernity$
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Santanu Das and Kate McLoughlin

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266267

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266267.001.0001

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Entangled Emotions

Entangled Emotions

Race, Encounters and Anti-Colonial Cosmopolitanism

(p.240) 12 Entangled Emotions
The First World War

Santanu Das

British Academy

Undivided India contributed to the First World War more than one million men who served in places as diverse as France, Mesopotamia and East Africa and forged a remarkable range of encounters across the lines of race, religion and nationality. This essay investigates the fraught inner histories of these encounters – their affective, experiential and representational structures – through a range of archival, historical and literary material, as produced by Indian combatant and civilian writers, including Mulk Raj Anand and Rabindranath Tagore. Focusing on three kinds of encounters – behind the battlefield of the Western Front, in a hospital in Mesopotamia, and a series of wartime lectures delivered in the United States – it reflects on the role of the ‘literary’ in such cross-cultural encounters and their representations, and how such moments and processes at once expand our understandings of a more ‘global’ war and put pressure on conventional understandings of ideas of ‘modernity’ and ‘cosmopolitanism’.

Keywords:   India, cosmopolitanism, modernity, encounter, Rabindranath Tagore, Mulk Raj Anand, Mesopotamia

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