Date(s) - 29/10/2018
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
A six-week study
Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children
Winner of the 1981 Booker Prize
On the surface, Midnight’s Children recounts, directly and symbolically, the birth of India as a modern nation, shrugging off the last vestiges of colonialism in the surge of independence. But India is not one story, one people. The beliefs, languages, ethnic loyalties after the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 are reflected in the experience of Rushdie’s main character, a boy named Saleem Sinai born at the same moment as the independent India. Rushdie weaves magic and history in a racing, mad narrative that addresses issues of identity, communalism and the imaginary homeland we all carry within ourselves.
Our study will include background information on the history of India as well as various belief systems and how these are manifested in modern India. The group may do reflective writing on how place and culture define self as well as our journeys away from and into our inheritance.
Rushdie explores the nature of history and its intimate relation, memory, in Midnight’s Children. He is interested in how history is a story told and as a story is shaped by the teller. He explains how he plays with these ideas in the character of Saleem in his essay, ‘Errata’: or, Unreliable Narration in Midnight’s Children: Time and migration had placed a double filter between me and my subject, and I hoped that if I could only imagine vividly enough it might be possible to see beyond those filters, to write as if the years had not passed, as if I had never left India for the West. But as I worked I found that what interested me was the process of filtration itself. So my subject changed, it was no longer a search for lost time, it had become the way in which we remake the past to suit our present purposes, using memory as our tool. …History is always ambiguous. Facts are hard to establish… Reality is built on our prejudices, misconceptions and ignorance as well as on our perceptiveness and knowledge. The reading of Saleem’s unreliable narration might be, I believed, a useful analogy for the way in which we all, every day, attempt to ‘read’ the world.” (1983).
Toby Brothers, who leads this study group, is Director of the London and Paris Literary Salon. Her 25-year student-centred experience teaching in France, the USA, Japan and the UK includes facilitating literary seminars specializing in the most challenging Modernists (Joyce, Woolf, Faulkner, T. S. Eliot, T. Morrison). She uses innovative education techniques that emphasize inclusion and exploration; each participant’s lived experience and knowledge is built into a dynamic reading of the literature. www.litsalon.co.uk/
Number of participants are limited
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