Special issues:

Literature and Linguistics (Vol. 1 No. 2); Literature and Violence (Vol. 3 Nos. 1-2)

Women, Consumption and Popular Culture (Vol. 4 No. 1); Life, Community, and Ethics (Vol. 4. No. 2)

The Making of Barbarians in Western Literature (Vol. 5 No. 1); Chaos and Fear in Contemporary British Literature (Vol. 5 No. 2)

Taiwan Cinema before Taiwan New Wave Cinema (Vol. 6 No. 1); Catastrophe and Cultural Imaginaries (Vol. 6 No. 2)

Affective Perspectives from East Asia (Vol. 9 No. 2); Longing and Belonging (Vol. 10 No. 2, produced in collaboration with the European Network for Comparative Literary Studies)

Transatlantic Literary and Cultural Relations, 1776 to the Present (Vol. 11 No. 2). 


I will read the extraordinary enigma at the center of the narrative of A Passage to India as an invocation of the origin of Indian independence, while most critics do not consider it related to national independence movement in any significant way. In my reading, the narrative, while never overtly about independence, will be seen as “singularly” situated at the very origin of Indian independence. It is the task of this paper to show how Forster’s novel, wittingly or unwittingly, “represents” and lets us see the impossible genesis of nation and nationalism in alterity, thus revealing the aporia of the narrated events in the novel as coming both after and before the origin of independence movement, at the same time. By way of detour, I will discuss Marx’s theory of the “origin” of industrial capitalism, necessarily secreting territorial imperialism, and from Derrida’s reading of “Before the Law,” about the posteriority of the origin of law, for theoretical inspirations. More crucially, the “staging” of the native state at the end of A Passage to India will be read as a strange “fact” and representation of a curious political entity which appears to be “independent before independence,” in an “independence without independence.”

KEY WORDS: independence, Indian Independence Movement, E. M. Forster, A Passage to India, native states, nation-building