The recent convergence of literary and historical theory has made literary history one of the most exciting fields in the humanities. New frameworks for understanding literature and its relation to history have emerged. The cultural conditions of creating texts as well as the textual production of cultural meaning are now important aspects of literary history.
This book, the first major reassessment of literary history in nineteenth-century India for a generation, opens up this emerging field of literary history of nineteenth-century India. Its essays emphasize the making of literary history, the process of canonization, the reinvention of literary tradition, and the writing of literary history itself. A central premise of the book is that when European literary cultures arrives in India, they came into contact with popular performance forms and complex literary cultures that had their own histories.
The essays also reach beyond the obvious genres and include little-known texts, situating them within a wider debate about national origins, linguistic identities, and political entitlements.
Spanning a range of topics - print culture and oral tales, drama and gender, library use and publishing history, theatre and audiences, detective fiction and low-caste novels - this book will appeal to historians, cultural theorists, sociologists, and all interested in understanding the multiplicity of India's cultural traditions and literary histories.
About the Author:
Stuart Blackburn is Senior Lecturer in the Department of South Asian Languages and Cultures, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), London. He is the author of several books, most recently Moral Fictions: Tamil Folktales from Oral Traditions (2001) and Print, Folklore and Nationalism in Colonial South India (2003). He is currently directing a five-year research project on cultural change in Arunachal Pradesh, India.
Vasudha Dalmia is Professor of Hindi at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bharatendu Harishchandra in Nineteenth-century Benares (1998).
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