Literary Cultures in History
Reconstructions from South Asia
Publication Year: 2003
The volume is united by a twofold theoretical aim: to understand South Asia by looking at it through the lens of its literary cultures and to rethink the practice of literary history by incorporating non-Western categories and processes. The questions these seventeen essays ask are accordingly broad, ranging from the character of cosmopolitan and vernacular traditions to the impact of colonialism and independence, indigenous literary and aesthetic theory, and modes of performance. A sophisticated assimilation of perspectives from experts in anthropology, political science, history, literary studies, and religion, the book makes a landmark contribution to historical cultural studies and to literary theory in addition to the new perspectives it offers on what literature has meant in South Asia.
(Available in South Asia from Oxford University Press--India)
Published by: University of California Press
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Title Page, About the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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...2. The Culture and Politics of Persian in Precolonial Hindustan / 1314. Three Moments in the Genealogy of Tamil Literary Culture / 2715. Critical Tensions in the History of Kannada Literary Culture / 3236. Multiple Literary Cultures in Telugu: Court, Temple, and Public / 3837. Genre and Society: The Literary Culture of Premodern Kerala / 437...
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
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...12.1. The circle composition (cakrabandhana) from the Kavsi>umina / 739...
LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS
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Muzaffar Alam, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations,Ali S. Asani, Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations,Steven Collins, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations,Norman Cutler, Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations,Vinay Dharwadker, Department of the Languages and Cultures of Asia,...
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
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Literary Cultures in History: Reconstructions from South Asia originated in a re-search proposal consciously designed to implement a new practice of schol-arship in the service of new historiographical and theoretical objectives. Thenew practice required intensive, long-term collaboration among specialistsin a range of regional and transregional literary traditions, while the new...
GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION
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Sounds marked with diacritics in the book that have more of an orthographicthan a phonetic significance in South Asia (e.g., Persian } or /, which arepronounced as English z and t respectively) are ignored in this guide. Con-versely, some distinctions made in pronunciation but rarely represented in“Indic” is a theoretical construct devised here to function as the baseline...
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It hardly seems proper to introduce a work about the literatures of SouthAsia, long known as home of many of the world’s best stories, without tellingOnce when the great and all-knowing god $iva was alone with his wife, sheasked to hear a story never told before, and he told her the most wonderfulone he knew—one in seven hundred thousand verses called, appropriately, the...
PART 1. GLOBALIZING LITERARY CULTURES
1. Sanskrit Literary Culture from the Inside Out
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In contrast to most other literary cultures examined in this book, Sanskritliterature has a long and deep tradition of scholarship. A serious attempt ata comprehensive account appeared by the middle of the nineteenth cen-tury, and today many single- and multi-volume histories are available.1 With-out the foundation this impressive body of work provides, the historical study...
2. The Culture and Politics of Persian in Precolonial Hindustan
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Persian has been an integral part of South Asian culture, and the life ofnorthern India (or Hindustan) in particular, for centuries. Recognizing andappreciating the marks of Persian influence, though these are perhaps lessvisible today than they were in, say, 1800, are nevertheless crucial for un-derstanding northern Indian literary and political culture. The same is true,...
3. The Historical Formation of Indian-English Literature
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The first text to be composed in English by an author of Indian origin wasThe Travels of Dean Mahomet, A Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Partsof India, While in the Service of The Honourable The East India Company, Writtenby Himself, In a Series of Letters to a Friend, which appeared in print in two vol-umes in Cork, Ireland, in 1794.1 Din Muhammad had emigrated from In-...
PART 2. LITERATURE IN SOUTHERN LOCALES
4. Three Moments in the Genealogy of Tamil Literary Culture
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This essay focuses on a few key moments in the genealogy of Tamil literaryculture that are described and enacted in, respectively, (1) the autobiogra-phy of the great textual scholar and editor U. Ve. Caminataiyar (1855–1942),which treats approximately the first half of his life; (2) histories of Tamil lit-erature that emerged as a genre of scholarship in the twentieth century;...
5. Critical Tensions in the History of Kannada Literary Culture
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The first thing one notices about the emergence of Kannada literary cultureis that the very notion of literature is linked to the practice of writing; at leastit is so according to the Kannada scholars who have considered the literaryculture’s beginnings. Invariably, every discussion of the formative period ofKannada literature starts with a reference to the Halmidi inscription (450...
6. Multiple Literary Cultures in Telugu: Court, Temple, and Public
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History presupposes a narrative, a story of a process motivated by a causal-ity. And as we have come to realize, such a story sometimes creates the ob-ject it purports to merely describe. There was no such a thing as “Telugu lit-erature” as we now understand it before literary historians produced itshistory in the early decades of the twentieth century for the purpose of teach-...
7. Genre and Society: The Literary Culture of Premodern Kerala
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This essay rethinks aspects of the literary culture of premodern Keralathrough anthropological reflection on the social and pragmatic contexts inwhich those genres of textual practices we today call Malayalam literaturewere apparently produced. I characterize my project in this way because theKerala materials I survey have led me to reconsider some of the basic as-...
PART 3. THE CENTRALITY OF BORDERLANDS
8. The Two Histories of Literary Culture in Bengal
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A general reading of the history of a particular literature requires, first ofall, a principle of organization. Histories of Bangla literature usually offer anarrative of continuity: they seek to show, quite legitimately, how the liter-ary culture develops through successive stages—how literary works of oneperiod become the stock on which later stages carry out their productive op-...
9. From Hemacandra to Hind Svarāj: Region and Power in Gujarati Literary Culture
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In the twelfth century in Gurjarade4a, “the place of the Gurjars,” as the areawas increasingly called, Acarya Hemacandra (1106–1173), a Jain monk en-dowed with great erudition and held in high esteem in the court of theChaulukya (or Solañki) dynasty, wrote a treatise on poetics, the Kavyanu-4asana (The doctrine of literature), in which he observed that literature is...
10. At the Crossroads of Indic and Iranian Civilizations: Sindhi Literary Culture
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On account of its unique geographical position as a buffer zone between theIndic and the Iranian-Arab worlds, Sindh has been a place where differentcultures have met and interacted with each other for many centuries. Con-sequently, its literary culture is characterized by convergences: between oraland written genres and forms, and between different languages, literatures,...
PART 4. BUDDHIST CULTURES AND SOUTH ASIAN LITERATURES
11. What Is Literature in Pali?
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This chapter describes Pali literature, some of which is not well-known, andasks a question which has not, to my knowledge, been asked before: Whyis it that Pali texts from the last few centuries b.c.e. contain some of theearliest examples of literature in the kavya sense in South Asia, yet thereis nothing more in this genre in Pali, with one partial exception (Ma-...
12. Works and Persons in Sinhala Literary Culture
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Throughout history the number of Sinhala speakers has been small in com-parison to speakers of languages like Hindi, Bangla, or Tamil, and the spacein which Sinhala has been used has always been small in comparison to thatfor languages like Sanskrit, Persian, or Pali. This is hardly surprising, becausethe use of Sinhala as a language has been restricted almost exclusively to the...
13. The Indian Literary Identity in Tibet
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The Tibetan language and its literature are at once both of and alien to SouthAsia. Among the other languages whose literary cultures are considered inthis book, Tibetan resembles Persian and English in this respect. Thoughthis comparison is limited, it does underscore two important points: First,from the perspective of language and literature (and much else besides),...
PART 5. THE TWINNED HISTORIES OF URDU AND HINDI
14. A Long History of Urdu Literary Culture, Part 1: Naming and Placing a Literary Culture
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Using the term “early Urdu” is not without its risks. “Urdu” as a languagename is of comparatively recent origin, and the question of what was or isearly Urdu has long since passed from the realm of history, first into the colo-nialist constructions of the history of Urdu/Hindi, and then into the politi-cal and emotional space of Indian (Hindu) identity in modern India. For...
15. A Long History of Urdu Literary Culture, Part 2: Histories, Performances, and Masters
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Like almost all other Urdu literary genres, the tazkirah (anthology) traditionof the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was taken over from Persian; infact, until well into the nineteenth century most tazkirahs of Urdu poetrywere themselves written in Persian.1 Etymologically, tazkirah is derived froman Arabic root meaning “to mention, to remember.” Historically, the liter-...
16. The Progress of Hindi, Part 1: The Development of a Transregional Idiom
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This chapter considers the role played by literary culture in defining a northIndian cultural identity that can be seen today as both regional and partic-ipating in India’s wider culture. What is this role, and how has it been played?How have literary forms, styles, themes, and languages been perceived, andhow have they been employed to express societal concerns and cultural val-...
17. The Progress of Hindi, Part 2: Hindi and the Nation
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The current preeminence of Hindi among the modern Indian languages isa phenomenon of surprisingly recent growth and represents a dramaticchange in its fortunes. Until about a hundred years ago, Hindi was commonlyperceived to be an underdeveloped and underprivileged language, frag-mented into several competing dialects, backward and dusty by association...
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Titles can be located under author/compiler, when author/compiler is indicated in text....
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Page Count: 1105
Publication Year: 2003