The Literary Thing History, Poetry, and the Making of a Modern Literary Culture

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-04-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The nineteenth century in Bengal has been identified and then reviled as a period of renaissance or false renaissance. This study moves beyond those sterile parameters to provide a new understanding of the interactive, living, and cataclysmic nature of events. Analysing certain cultural turning points in the history of Bengali literature, it investigates the place of the aesthetic, the political, and the collective in the composition of a literary culture to show the relevance and significance of this sphere to our self-making as Indians. Focusing on the local and the marginal, the study reflects that it is often the periphery that informs the central developments of a culture. The literary debates generated around the works dealt with in this book, the issues involved in their formulation of a literary culture for Bengal, and the political implications of the cultural space of literature in this period are grasped in their historical density to reveal how this unique period, from 1831 to 1881, was one in which an answer to the question of the shape of the Indian modern in part lies.

Author Biography

Rosinka Chaudhuri is Fellow in Cultural Studies, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta.

Table of Contents

Disjunctions, Conjunctions
Reading Iswarchandra Gupta (1812-1859) / Poet of the Present: The Material Object in the World of Iswar Gupta
'Another Wonder of the Nineteenth Century': Rangalal Bandyopadhyay (1827-1887)
Event, Anecdote, Iconicity: The Legend of Madhusudan Datta / Michael Madhusudan Datta and the Marxist Understanding of the 'Real Renaissance' in Bengal
Hemchandra's Bharat Sangeet (1870) and the Politics of Poetry: A Pre-History of Hindu Nationalism in Bengal / Cutlets or Fish Curry?: Debating Indian Authenticity
History in Poetry: Nabinchandra Sen's Palashir Yuddha (1875) and the Question of Truth / The Curious Case of Nabinchandra Sen and the Text-Book Committee: An Investigation into Hindu/Muslim Representations
Rabindranath's Early Style and Reconstruction of the Past
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