“The Bliss I Could Portray”: Elliptical and Declamatory Male-Male Desire in the Work of Vikram Seth

  • Oliver Ross


Vikram Seth is widely celebrated as one of the greatest living Indian writers in English and his work has attracted significant attention, especially surrounding his willful flouting of postmodernist literary trends. If The Golden Gate (1986), his early novel in rhyming poetry, was quite out of keeping with a Euro-American climate of free verse, the voluminous realist prose epic A Suitable Boy (1993) flummoxed a generation of readers reared on the aesthetic excesses of Midnight’s Children1 and its successors. In The New York Times Magazine, Richard Woodward wrote, “Deliberately plain and uninvolved in its syntax and psychology, ‘A Suitable Boy’ reads as though Flaubert, Joyce and Nabokov had never existed. It isn’t so much post-modern as pre-modern.”2 Marked out as unfashionably realist and unfashionably long in both encomiastic and dismissive analyses, A Suitable Boy is often analyzed as a stylistic anomaly whose themes do not merit expansive treatment. The novel is so wide-ranging that any discussion is significantly constrained by the requisite concision of the literary review, and, while some scholarly publications3 do attempt a more comprehensive approach, there remain many lacunae in Seth studies.


Indian Culture Golden Gate York Time Magazine Rose Petal Nursery Rhyme 
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© Oliver Ross 2016

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  • Oliver Ross

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