Mutual Suspicion and Mistrust between East and West: A Study of The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

Dr. Chanchal Kumar



Mutual Suspicion and Mistrust between East and West: A Study of

The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie

Dr. Chanchal Kumar*

Salman Rushdie is a British Indian novelist and essayist and one of the most significant authors in the field of contemporary Indian English novel. Rushdie experiments with almost all genres of fiction and nonfiction. Both Indian and Western traditions shaped his mind and he has presented the mythical, social, cultural and political scenario of the East and West. He is said to combine magical realism with historical fiction and his works are concerned with many connections, migrations, and disruptions between East and West. Rushdie probes into the past to unearth its truths and rethink and reinterpret the past from different perspectives, depending on the inclusions and exclusions of the facts and events. The Enchantress of Florence is Rushdie’s tenth novel published in 2008. The story of the novel is set against the background of Europe and the Oriental in the 16th century. The novel seems to be historically accurate but conceived fictionally. It is rich in presenting minute details of the respective era, which is stylistically opulent. Here, Rushdie, like Garcia Marquez, intertwines actual historical characters and events within a story full of magical realism and fantasy. The Enchantress of Florence deals and highlights a sumptuous mixture of history, fantasy and fable and enquires about the mutual suspicion and mistrust between East and West (in this case Renaissance Florence and India’s Mughal Empire) through primordial history, and also highlights Renaissance Florence’s artistic zenith and Mughal India’s cultural summit. The novel proves the versatilities of Rushdie’s literary talents and his universal interest in probing the possibilities for a mutual understanding of cultures as different as those in the West and the East.


Key Words:  Historical Fiction, magical realism, fantasy, fable, East-West


*Assistant Professor, MGGEC, KOTLA DISTT. SHIMLA (camp at JNGEC, Sundernagar- Mandi H.P) ,


Historical Fiction, magical realism, fantasy, fable, East-West

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Works Cited

Primary Source:

Rushdie, Salman. The Enchantress of Florence. London: Vintage, 2009. Print. (quoted as EF)

Secondary Sources:

Dore, Geeta Ganapathy. “Travelling Desires and Imaginary Bridges between Renaissance Italy and Mughal India in Salman Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence.” The IUP Journal of Commonwealth Literature 2.2 (July, 2010): 57-61.Print.

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Newman, Justin. “The Fictive Origins of Secular Humanism.” Criticism 50.4 (September, 2008): 675-82. Print.

Ramadan, Tariq. What I Believe. New York: Oxford UP, 2010.Print.

Rao, A. S. Myth and History in Contemporary Indian Novel in English. New Delhi: Atlantic, 2000. Print.

Rushdie, Salman. Interview with Erik Spanberg. The Christian Science Monitor. July, 2008. Web 12 July, 2011

Suneetha, P. “Novel with a Message: The Enchantress of Florence.” The Literary Criterion 45. 2 (July, 2010):7-25. Print.

Wise, Gordon. Interview with Salman Rushdie. Gentleman, Feb, 1984. 3 Print.


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