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  • Mapping the Imaginaire: The Conditions of Possibility

    Tony K. Stewart

    Chapter from the book: Stewart, T. 2019. Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination.


    Though the stories of the pir kathas are autotelic, they are not isolated from the world that generated them. The stories are conditioned by the enabling and constraining limits of the Bengali imaginaire, the discursive arena that demarcates the realms of possibility for the imagination to operate. Following Culler, each story links to prior discourse through intertextual connections and logical and pragmatic presuppositions. To illustrate, the tale of the matronly Bonbibī mimics the mangal kavya genre by modifying the stories of Daksin Ray and Bada Khan Gaji found in the earlier Ray mangal. Bonbibi’s tale invokes the authority of the prior text, but reorders the hierarchy of power by defeating Dakṣiṇ Rāy’s mother in battle, asserting the superiority of her God.

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    Stewart, T. 2019. Mapping the Imaginaire: The Conditions of Possibility. In: Stewart, T, Witness to Marvels. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.76.e

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    Published on Sept. 13, 2019


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