The Late Mr. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, C.B.E. (Hony.), and the Twilight of Empire
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to examine the philosophy of history expounded by Nirad C. Chaudhuri, and relate it to the apocalyptic temper of modernism. It argues that the sense of impending apocalypse in modern Bengali culture had more to do with the decline of the British Empire than with events like the First World War, which was the most significant historical landmark in the evolution of Western modernist apocalypticism. The paper ends with a cursory look at the apocalyptic note in modern Bengali poetry and suggests that further exploration of the subject will enhance our understanding of what Partha Chatterjee has dubbed the ‘colonial modern’.
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Published in Fall 2009