Over the past forty years, the study of Urdu literature has played a dynamic role in contemporary discourses on culture and history, reaching out to a far-flung international community of scholars. The eleven essays in this volume exemplify the changing place of Urdu in the world today. They discuss diverse aspects of Urdu and Persian literature and poetry, between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries. The focus is mainly on Urdu poetry - offering a comprehensive introduction to the sociology, culture and politics of its enchanting and complex world - but it also includes essays on travelogues, print journalism and a play.
In the first part, contributors explore the divergent social and political spaces that Urdu literature has occupied through the centuries. In the second, they critique the paradigms that have informed Urdu literary history and point to new methodologies of reading. Pillars of poetry like Ghalib and Iqbal, women writing from the zanana, popular dramatists, travelers to Britain, and modern novelists, form the subjects of this wide-ranging collection. The contributors, specialists in the field, use a combination of approaches: while some articles focus on well-known texts, others focus on individual poets and writers.
The book includes lucid new translations of texts not yet available to English readers. It will interest all scholars and students of South Asian cultural history and literary studies.
About the Author :
Kathryn Hansen is Director of the Center for Asian Studies and Professor in the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, where she teaches courses in Hindi and Urdu literature, theatre, folklore, and gender studies.
David Lelyveld is Associate Dean of Humanities and social Sciences and Professor of History, William Paterson University. He has held faculty and administrative positions at the University of Minnesota, Columbia and Cornell.
Part 1: Urdu Literature and the Political Imaginary
Part 2: The Critical Project and Its Revision
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