chapter  8
16 Pages

"Quernesses All Mine": Same-Sex Desire in Kamala Das's Fiction and Poetry

Kamala Das requires no introduction co most readers of this anthology. Her reputation as a formidable literary presence in two languages (English and Malayalam) is now well esrablished. Born in 1934 into an aristocratic Nair (Hindu) family in KeraJa, Das is the author of many autobiographical works and novels in both languages, and of several highly regarded collections of poetry in English.1 Her work has been widely anthologized in the Indian subcontinent and globally. Das's use of details from her own life to serve as examples of the oppression, sexual and otherwise, that women suffer under patriarchy has aught the attention of academic and lay readers alike. The cenrraliry of sexualiry in Kamala Das's writing is so commonly accepted that even brief mentions of her work include some comment on her representation of male-female relationships.