Senses and Sensibilities in Sarojini Naidu's Poetry

C. Hoene*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The senses play a crucial role in the poetry of Sarojini Naidu (1879-1949), both on the level of theme and on the level of aesthetics. Throughout this essay, I show how Naidu creates multisensorial sensescapes that evoke the Indian aesthetic principle of rasa, which literally translates into English as 'juice, essence, or taste' and which, in the context of aesthetic theory, denotes the emotive essence of and response to a piece of art. The early twentieth century saw a revival of classical Indian aesthetics, including rasa. Translating this ancient Indian aesthetic principle into modern poetry in English, Naidu harks back to a pre-colonial cultural idea(l) in order to form a national identity that is independent of the coloniser's political and cultural imperialism.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)966-982
Number of pages17
JournalSouth Asia: Journal of South Asia Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2021


  • Aesthetics
  • colonial literature
  • post-colonial theory
  • rasa
  • Sarojini Naidu
  • senses
  • sensescape

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