The fifteen essays collected in this volume present analyses of a wide variety of modern and pre-modern South Asian narratives in Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Tamil, and Urdu. While classics such as Hir Varis Shah, Krittibasa's Ramayana, Ruswa's Umrao Jan Ada, and Phalke's pioneering film venture Raja Harischandra come under discussion, texts less widely known, though equally significant, are also analysed in vivid detail. A wide range of analytical methods are applied, including narratology, reception theory, genre theories, rhetoric, and the theory of transtextuality. Though the essays focus on applied analysis, an effort has been made in each to explain the basic tenets of the methods used. These methods bring into focus such vital issues as the uses of tradition, the renegotiation of gender roles, and shifts in genre and literary categories.
This volume is a significant contribution to the study of South Asian narratives with its constructive and sensitive application of diverse critical approaches to its subject area and its explicit awareness of methodology in the analysis of such narratives. The essays offer a wide range of engaging and often challenging interpretations of the narratives studied which will interest scholars and attract general readers.
(Note: Jacket Photograph: Scene from the film Raja Harischandra, by Phalke Courtesy National Film Archive of India, Pune.)
About the Author:
Vasudha Dalmia is Professor of Hindi, Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of California, Berkeley. Her previous publications include The Nationalization of Hindu Traditions: Bharatendu Harischandra and Nineteenth-century Banaras and Representing Hinduism: The Construction of Religious Traditions and National Identity.
Theo Damsteegt is Reader in Hindi, University of Leiden. He has published in 1997 Giriraj Kisor's Yatraem: A Hindi Novel Analysed.
Rewriting Valmiki: Krittibasa Ramayana as a hypertext
Hir Varis Shah, a story retold
Narrating the City: Bahti Ganga
The first cinematic Pauranik kathanak
The three lives of Umrao Jan Ada
Questioning norms in Krishna Sobti's Mitro marjani
The Face Behind the Mask: Ambai on women
Mani Kaul's Uski roti: giving silence a voice
A story of tyag: coping with liminality
Struggling with masculinity: Ravindra Kaliya's "Maim"
GENRE AND LITERARY CATEGORIES
A novel moment in Hindi: Pariksha guru
Reading a social romance: Cand hasinom ke khatut
Romantic allegory and progressive criticism
The artist as autobiographer: Sekhar ek jivani
"Ek kahani, ganga jamni": satirizing secularity
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