In an Antique Land

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In An Antique Land
Author Amitav Ghosh
Country India
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Ravi Dayal Publishers
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback)
ISBN 0679727833
Followed by Dancing in Cambodia and at Large in Burma

In An Antique Land is an ethnography written in narrative form by the Indian writer Amitav Ghosh.


The book contains two narratives. The first, an anthropological narrative, revolves around two visits made by Ghosh to two villages in the Nile Delta, while he was writing his doctoral dissertation (1980–81) and again a few years later (1988). In the second narrative, presented parallel to the first one in the book, Ghosh reconstructs the history of a 12th-century Jewish merchant, Abraham Ben Yiju, and his slaves Ashu and Bomma, using documents from the Cairo Geniza.[1]


In an Antique Land is considered to be a stylistically curious book. Written after the success of Ghosh's first two books, Circle of Reason and The Shadow Lines, and written more than a decade after the dissertation on which the book is based, In an Antique Land defies easy description and has been called "generically indefinable" and could be labeled as "narrative, travel book, autobiographical piece, historical account".[2]


  1. ^ Desai, Gaurav. "Old World Orders: Amitav Ghosh and the Writing of Nostalgia". Representations. California University Press. 85 (Winter 2004): 125–148. JSTOR 10. 
  2. ^ Srivastava, Neelam. "Amitav Ghosh's Ethnographic Fictions: Intertextual Links between In An Antique Land and His Doctoral Thesis" (PDF). The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. Sage Publications. 36 (June 2001): 45–64. doi:10.1177/002198940103600205. Retrieved 11 April 2011. 


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