The Complexity and Poetry of Terror

Quite by chance both books we are posting on today have terror in their titles... But are, of course, very different.

Rukmini Bhaya Nair, poet and academic, teaches at the IIT Delhi. Her Poetry in the time of Terror from OUP is a collection of essays that " broadly focus on the question of poetry. Wide ranging in their references, and written in a lyrical and inviting style, the writings engage with a host of political questions relating to nation, language, translation, borders, gender, sexuality, and more.

How can an individual poet define her own voice in the face of the overwhelming presence of earlier, often dead, poets' voices? What connect our 'new' postcolonial, transnational anxieties to the rampant celebrations of cruelty and torture that have always been the subject of poetry from humankind's earliest epics? Is poetry the antithesis of terror or is it terror's very essence?

While grappling with these questions, the underlying premise is that poems, even the most apparently everyday ones, are texts of crisis; they are our first language when confronted with the incomprehensible, with sublime joy, or with terror out of the sky.

Poems, Nair argues, even the most everyday ones, are our first language when confronted with the incomprehensible, with sublime joy, or with terror out of the sky. They are veritable texts of crisis.

A number of challenging questions arise from this foundational premise. What connects our ‘new’ postcolonial, transnational anxieties to the rampant celebrations of cruelty and torture that have been the subject of poetry from humankind’s earliest epics? How can an individual poet define her voice in the face of the overwhelming presence of earlier, often dead, poets’ voices? Is poetry the antithesis of terror or is it terror’s very essence?

Written in a lyrical and inviting style and supported by writings ranging from Freud, Hegel, and Barthes to Bhartåhari, Kabir, and Tagore, this book will appeal to lovers of poetry, as well as to scholars and researchers in the fields of literature, philosophy, linguistics, history, and gender and cultural studies."

In our Poetry and Literary Criticism sections, in hardcover, 224 pages, ISBN:9780198060765


Rada Iveković, philosopher, taught in the former Yugoslavia. Since 1991 she has lived in France and has worked on Indian and political philosophy, feminist theory, gender, nation, translation and on epistemological issues of interconnected and interactive philosophies.

Samir Kumar Das is Professor of Political Science at Calcutta University and President of the Calcutta Research Group. He specializes on issues of rights, justice and democracy.


Together, their different "take" on terror will be published by Women Unlimited next month. TERROR, TERRORISM: A Historical and Philosophical Perspective

The world today is marked by different kinds of terror—individual, state, anarchist, revolutionary, religious, imperial or communal; or the terror of insecurity or catastrophe—each with its particular imprint. Their different ideological and philosophical justifications need to be understood, especially now, when distinctions between them have been obliterated by the blanket term, ‘terrorism,’ and the habit of calling those who practise this generalised ideology, ‘terrorists’.

This volume contains essays by international scholars, across different disciplines, and engages with several aspects of terror: as historical event; as a generalised discourse of ideology; as a feature in the continuum of violence; as ‘extreme violence’; and as the final marker of identity—ascribed, undertaken
or imposed. The authors also discuss the historical and discursive relations between democracy and terror, liberalism and the rule of law, the ‘war on terror’ and the need for legitimacy; and a philosophical engagement with terror. Its scope ranges from the era of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution to the instruments of colonial terror, to post-colonialism and the global situation today, post-September 11, 2001. A compelling and sober consideration of one of modernity’s most intractable and complex issues.

Contributors to the volume include Virgílio Afonso da Silva, Paula Banerjee, Didier Bigo, Pradip Kumar Bose, Alain Brossat, Béchir Chourou, Samir Kumar Das,
Ivaylo Ditchev, Daho Djerbal, Rada Iveković, Artemy Magun, Boyan Manchev, Francisco Naishtat, Shahnaz Rouse, Rubina Saigol, Ranabir Samaddar and Stephen Wright.

Will be in our Politics and Philosophy sections.
Rs. 595, 328 pages, ISBN: 9788188965564

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