From John Donne’s appropriation of “both the Indias of Spice and mine” as a metaphor for erotic fulfillment to the unexpected success of Slumdog Millionaire at the 2009 Academy Awards, South Asia and the Americas have been linked discursively in Anglophone literature and film despite their geographic distance from each other. Throughout the nineteenth century, South Asian religious and philosophical traditions contributed substantially to shaping the thought of such central American literary figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and Herman Melville. Trade and missionary accounts brought back from South Asia meant that even so reclusive a literary figure as Emily Dickinson found occasion to mention Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in her letters. By the late nineteenth century, travel between the Americas and South Asia had become a two-way affair, and the amount of traffic has been increasing ever since. The articles in this issue span a period from the late nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century, and they address four important modes of travel and cultural exchange between South Asia and the English-speaking portions of the Americas.
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