Systematic Review of Urban Palimpsest and Collective Memory in Fiction: A Study with Reference to Delhi City

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Girish Kumar
Manjula K. T.


Purpose: A palimpsest is a parchment manuscript that has been modified or changed yet still retains traces of its original composition. Palimpsest refers to a greatly condensed rendition of an older document. In today's world, chronological remembrance is not what it used to be. It used to bind a culture's or people's relationship to its ancient era, but the border between past and present was tougher and more stable than it appears to be now. In ways that were unimaginable in previous centuries, history has become a part of the present. As a result, worldly constraints have been harmed, while the pragmatic portion of freedom has been strengthened as a result of current transportation and communication technologies. Even in modernism, literary writings have been unable to overcome their palimpsestic nature, and the philological dilemma of incompatible editions has always distinguished literature from constructions or monuments. The palimpsest genre is naturally literary and linked compositions.

Design: The secondary data acquired from educational websites and written publications are used in the Review of Literature. Research sources like google scholar, research Gate, SSRN, Elsevier, Academia, and Shodhganga are used for identifying the research gap. Doctoral thesis, and websites are used in the study. To highlight the key aspects of the research, ABCD Analysis is used Qualitative research is conducted using the keywords "palimpsest, manuscript, historical memory, literature, borders" found in online articles, peer-reviewed journals, publications, and a variety of linked portals.

Findings: This review of literature explores the palimpsest concept used with the landscape of Delhi, its history, and literature as a palimpsest. Many literary works represent Delhi as a location, including descriptions of the city's art, architecture, and monuments, as well as the city's historic past. This literature analysis aims to look at critical responses to the fictional portrayal of Delhi as a palimpsest. Delhi was never one city, but a collection of them. It, too, never lived in a single era, but rather in several. On these lines, not only were the numerous urban manipulations worked on this palimpsest, including the idiosyncrasies of British and imperial Delhi, discrete and special on it inhabited the space of landscape and memory, but so were the successive 'cities' of Delhi.

Research implications: This research focuses on creating a fictional palimpsestic vision of Delhi. The research will also lead to an investigation of a nation's collective memory, which will pave the way for tracking the nationalistic impulses associated with the city. These nationalistic impulses are a global phenomenon that evolved in most of the world's countries in the mid-twentieth century and made their presence clear. The most powerful feelings have been nationalistic feelings. It is a set of beliefs, feelings, and passions shared by inhabitants of a given country.

Originality: This Review of Literature presents a study of Delhi as a palimpsest city. Delhi is a unique metropolis that not only resists typical metanarratives but also serves as an exemplary embodiment of spatial and temporal reality as articulated in city planning. To understand a nation’s memories, one must be aware of collective memory. Its objective is a fundamental comprehension of the identity and viewpoint of their nation. Although nations do not have memories, their citizens do, and these memories frequently feature recurring themes. 

Paper Type:   A review paper.

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How to Cite
Girish Kumar, & Manjula K. T. (2022). Systematic Review of Urban Palimpsest and Collective Memory in Fiction: A Study with Reference to Delhi City . International Journal of Philosophy and Languages (IJPL), 1(1), 1–33. Retrieved from