How do we stop being somebody else’s image?: The struggle for cultural freedom and the poetics and politics of Cold War Bombay.
Laetitia Zecchini discusses the politics of literary translation and publication, particularly surrounding the journal Quest funded by the International Council for Cultural Freedom, itself backed by the CIA. She examined the editor Nissim Ezekiel’s own positions and motivations, noting that for him Quest’s purpose was the create the conditions in which the magazine would provide the freedom to debate, argue, and hold different theoretical positions, creating a space of cultural independence which could in turn realise political independence. Thus, despite Quest’s backing and anti-communist lineage, writers of different persuasions were attracted to the journal as an open forum. Finally, Zecchini noted Ezekiel’s ongoing attempt to free modernism from the ideology of “freedom,” or “art for art’s sake,” that purged the form of revolutionary politics. Her title is drawn from Ezekiel’s own statement, “I do not want to be an image, even the most luminous image, in someone else’s mind.”