Topic outline

  • Rajmohan's Wife

    Bankim Chandra Chatterjee's first novel, Rajmohan's wife (1864) is considered to be the first full length Indian novel in English. The story revolves around the life of Matangini, who is the protagonist and the wife of the man mentioned in the title. Beautiful and passionate, she is married to a villainous man and in love with her sister's husband. She represents the vitality of women who remain strong in the face of brutality and the confining expectations of middle-class society. It may not be a book of great literary excellence like later works of Bankinm Chandra, all of which were written in Bengali. However, Rajmohan's Wife is regarded as a seminal text in the canon of Indian English Literature for various reasons. It not only speaks to an emergent genre in the literature of colonial modernity, it also anticipates some of the major developments of the novel as a genre.