Rushdie’s life is not anterior to the body of his fictional writing, but inextricably bound up with it. Yet his background as a secular Indian Muslim who moved to Britain and subsequently to the United States is often read as a transparent reflection of his fictional writing. While Rushdie’s cosmopolitan background may certainly help to situate his fiction in a cultural and political context, it can also lead to crude ad hominem readings (as in the case of The Satanic Verses affair), which dismiss Rushdie’s fiction on the basis of his biographical background rather than critically engaging with the literary texts themselves (see Kuortti 1997a) For this reason, I would argue that the life of Salman Rushdie, or the events which become associated with the proper name of Salman Rushdie, are written in and through the fictional texts themselves.
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