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Literature, Catastrophe, and Numbers: Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahar Ben Jelloun

Literature, Catastrophe, and Numbers: Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahar Ben Jelloun Dominic RainsfoRD Literature, Catastrophe, and Numbers Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahar Ben Jelloun We are confronted every day with events that call for an ethically motivated re- sponse. To some extent this could be said of all events that ae ff ct human beings (and perhaps other species) for good or ill. But the events that strike most of us most insistently as calling for such a response are those that are painful, horrifying, and catastrophic. There is a broad assumption, tacitly underpinning most nations’ support (however half- he arted or hypocritical it may be in practice) of institutions such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, encoded in reli- gions, and implicit in cultural products that play on a thoughtful interest in the predicaments of real or imagined strangers, that people want to know about other people’s suffering, and would, in principle, like to alleviate it. In public information- exchange and debate, notably in political discourse and the news media, the first recourse, in conveying suffering, is frequently to numbers. We are told that a given event has ae ff cted, or may ae ff ct, one person, nine, two hundred and seven, three thousand http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Literature, Catastrophe, and Numbers: Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahar Ben Jelloun

The Comparatist , Volume 41 – Nov 1, 2017

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887

Abstract

Dominic RainsfoRD Literature, Catastrophe, and Numbers Saadat Hasan Manto and Tahar Ben Jelloun We are confronted every day with events that call for an ethically motivated re- sponse. To some extent this could be said of all events that ae ff ct human beings (and perhaps other species) for good or ill. But the events that strike most of us most insistently as calling for such a response are those that are painful, horrifying, and catastrophic. There is a broad assumption, tacitly underpinning most nations’ support (however half- he arted or hypocritical it may be in practice) of institutions such as the United Nations and the International Court of Justice, encoded in reli- gions, and implicit in cultural products that play on a thoughtful interest in the predicaments of real or imagined strangers, that people want to know about other people’s suffering, and would, in principle, like to alleviate it. In public information- exchange and debate, notably in political discourse and the news media, the first recourse, in conveying suffering, is frequently to numbers. We are told that a given event has ae ff cted, or may ae ff ct, one person, nine, two hundred and seven, three thousand

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Nov 1, 2017

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