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  • Illusions to Disillusions

    Garrett Field

    Chapter from the book: Field, G. 2017. Modernizing Composition: Sinhala Song, Poetry, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Sri Lanka.


    This final chapter focuses on the stylistic volte-face of Mahagama Sekera. It is organized into two sections. Section one investigates song and poetry that Sekera published between 1958 and 1963. The objective of this section is to reveal how Sekera wrote song and verse to transport Sinhalese readers to fictional realms that transcended objective reality. The second section of this chapter turns to the volte-face and offers a reading of Sekera’s first work of free verse, which he wrote in stream-of-consciousness and published in 1964. I suggest that Sekera had grown disillusioned with ethnic nationalism, industrialization, and his earlier poetry’s lack of political engagement. One reason Sekera’s switch from illusions to disillusions is significant is that it provides evidence that there was a voice of dissent within the Sinhalese intelligentsia at the moment in which Sinhala linguistic nationalism became the state’s dangerously divisive language policy.

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    Field, G. 2017. Illusions to Disillusions. In: Field, G, Modernizing Composition. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.27.g

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    Published on March 22, 2017


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