Title

Salman Rushdie's Authorial Self-Fashioning in Joseph Anton

Department

English

Document Type

Article

Publication Source

The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Volume 52, Issue 3, Pages 519-533.

Publication Date

2017-9

Abstract

This article examines some of the highlights, limitations, and contradictions of Rushdie’s authorial personas that have been perpetuated and challenged by his critics and the mass media. I argue that Joseph Anton, published in 2012, exhibits evidence of Rushdie’s attempt at authorial self-fashioning, and therefore the memoir represents an important part of his effort to shape the public narrative about him. Joseph Anton highlights Rushdie’s exilic persona through direct comparisons to figures like Voltaire and Galileo, and attempts to privilege this position above his other authorial selves. This authorial self has deep roots in a narrative fashioned by Rushdie that has been abetted by some of his critics and the media since the fatwa. My essay critiques this emphasis, suggesting that Rushdie’s self-fashioning is out of step with his twenty-first-century political ideals and affiliations. Ultimately, the third-person “distancing” of the memoir helps to highlight what it seeks to mitigate: a plurality of Rushdie’s competing for public attention.

Keywords

celebrity, Enlightenment, exile, Joseph Anton, memoir, postcolonial, Salman Rushdie, self-fashioning, Voltaire

DOI

10.1177/0021989416683543

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