Bombay Modern uncovers an alternative and provincial modernism through poetry, a genre that is marginal to postcolonial studies, and through bilingual scholarship across English and Marathi texts, a methodology that is currently peripheral at best to both modernist studies and postcolonial literary criticism in India. Eschewing any attempt to define an overarching or universal modernism, Bombay Modern delimits its sphere of study to "Bombay" and to the "post-1960" (the sathottari period) in an attempt to examine at close range the specific way in which this poetry redeployed the regional, the national, and the international to create a very tangible yet transient local.
"...Bombay Modern expands the scholarship on global avant-garde and modernisms in South Asia providing valuable heuristic tools of analysis for multiple literary and historical contexts. This accurate monograph can be recommended not only as a complementary study to the reading of Kolatkar’s poetry in English, but also as an independent work per se that explores the intricate web of material practices of literature, poetic experimentation, protest and resistance in the decades following the independence of India." —Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation Review
"Anjali Nerlekar’s Bombay Modern: Arun Kolatkar and Bilingual Literary Culture focuses on a fascinating and pivotal period, place, and poetics that, if studied carefully, can overturn a good lot of common literary assumptions about language, modernity, nationality, and cosmopolitanism in South Asian literary criticism today. First off, Bombay Modern is worthy of notice for the simple fact that it is one of so few studies to focus on South Asian poetry rather than fiction or history or sociology. Nerlekar’s notable contribution to literary studies is her unique focus on bilingual South Asian poetry as a challenge to the facile pronouncements of an English-dominated global cosmopolitanism on the one hand, and to the parochial Nativism of monolingual writers who also, in the opposite way, fail to account for the polyglot realities of South Asian lives on the other hand. The best thing that can be said about any book of literary criticism may be said of Nerlekar’s book: it makes readers want to go and read the poets for themselves again. Hopefully, Bombay Modern will bring much deserved scholarly attention to the words and legacy of Kolatkar, to the Sathottariperiod, and to the momentous output of South Asia’s bilingual poets so far so unjustly neglected in studies of South Asia." —H-ASIA