This is a past event.

Subaltern Modernisms: The Transnational Poetics of Banality and Boredom 

When: Wed., Nov. 28, 4 p.m. 2007
Price: free

"We're living in a time when people have very little patience with boredom," said Stanford English professor Saikat Majumdar, "but my point is it's not so bad." According the Majumdar, the boring and the banal are post-Enlightenment inventions. Whereas epic poetry of the old days dealt with grandiose themes like love, war, and salvation, Anglophone literature from the 19th- century to the present preoccupied itself with marginal and trivial things -- James Joyce and Virginia Wolf wouldn't have written such great novels had they not described the teacups or the paint on their walls. Majumdar also characterizes boredom as a form of consumerism, since authors often describe small towns as "boring" in comparison to metropolitan areas. "Throughout Joyce's work there's a sense that Dublin is boring, but London and Paris are interesting," said the professor. "That's a colonial thing. It becomes an index of what people have and how capitalism creates desire in people's minds." Majumdar appears at UC Berkeley's Maude Fife Room (315 Wheeler Hall) on Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 4 p.m. In a lecture called "Subaltern Modernisms: The Transnational Poetics of Banality and Boredom," he'll explain how the rise of boredom coincides with the rise of the novel.

— Rachel Swan


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