Breast Stories

Mahasweta Devi

Translated by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak


5.5 x 8.5 inches, 176pp. 2010

ISBN : 9788170461401

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This cluster of short fiction has a common motif: the breast. As Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak points out in her introduction, the breast is far more than a symbol in these stories. It becomes the means of a harsh indictment of an exploitative social system. In ‘Draupadi’, the protagonist, Dopdi Mejhen, is a tribal revolutionary, who, arrested and gang raped in custody, turns the terrible wounds of her breasts into a counter-offensive. In ‘Breast Giver’, a woman who becomes a professional wet-nurse to support her family dies of painful breast cancer, betrayed alike by the breasts that for years had been her chief identity, and the dozens of ‘sons’ she suckled. In ‘Behind the Bodice’ migrant labourer Gangor’s ‘statuesque’ breasts excite the attention of ace photographer Upin Puri, triggering off a train of violence that ends in tragedy. 

Mahasweta Devi is one of India's foremost writers. Her powerful fiction has won her recognition in the form of the Sahitya Akademi (1979), Jnanpith (1996) and Ramon Magsaysay (1996) awards, amongst several other literary honours. She was also awarded the Padmasree in 1986, for her activist work amongst dispossessed tribal communities. 


Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is University Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University, and author of numerous works including In Other Worlds (1987), The Postcolonial Critic (1990), Outside in the Teaching Machine (1993), A Critique of Postcolonial Reason (1999) and Death of a Discipline (2003).

Selected Works Of Mahasweta Devi
Gender Studies