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MANOTTAMA: Narrative of a Sorrowful Wife

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Published in 1868, Manottama is the first Bengali novel written by an unnamed Bengali woman identifying herself as ‘A Woman belonging to the Hindu Lineage,’ which is technically not a pseudonym. Somehow evading the attention of literary historians, the text, or any detailed information about it was unavailable for a long time till it was unearthed by a researcher in London only in 2010. The subject of this novel is interesting because it tells us about the pitfalls of female education in the nineteenth century, a period that also saw the emancipation of Bengali women through education in a significant way. Written in the traditional Indian Puranic style of narration, with plenty of sub-plots and digression and without conforming to the western dictates of unity of time, place, and action, it provides a domestic picture where an educated wife has to compromise with the activities and worldview of an uneducated husband. A rudimentary attack on patriarchy, the slim novel needs greater attention now after more than a century of neglect.

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Additional information

Weight 0.45 kg
Dimensions 8 × 5 × 0.5 in
Binding

Author

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ISBN

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Page Count

Publisher

Shambhabi – The Third Eye Imprint

Release Date

21 April 2021

About Author

Somdatta Mandal is a former Professor of English at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan. A recipient of several national and international fellowships and awards, she has been published widely. Her areas of interest include American Studies, Postcolonial Literature, Diaspora Studies, Culture Studies, and Translation. Apart from editing the first Indian English narrative published in 1835 entitled A Journal of Forty-Eight Hours of the Year 1945 by Kylas Chunder Dutt, and the first Indian English drama published in 1831 entitled The Persecuted by Krishnamohan Banerjee, she has also translated and edited the first Bengali travel narrative by a woman entitled A Bengali Lady in England by Krishnabhabini Das (1885). Mandal has also translated several other 19th and early 20th-century Bengali travel narratives and memoirs written by women and members of the Tagore family. 

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