1st Edition

Modernity, Print and Sahitya The Making of a New Literary Culture, 1866-1919

By Sumanyu Satpathy Copyright 2024
    238 Pages
    by Routledge India

    The advent of print heralded a significant chapter in the history of colonial modernity in South Asia that led to the emergence of new literary cultures in the region. This book documents the story of Odia literature, in the context of similar but conflicting linguistic-territorial cultures of Eastern India.

    Through an in-depth study of a large corpus of archival material, the volume traces the development of new literary practices and cultures facilitated mainly by the formation of new public and literary spheres with the rapid spread of European education. While the phenomenon was not unique to Odia, this study identifies several local factors that were distinctive about its literary sphere and traces how, under political compulsions, an Englisheducated intellectual class in Odisha used agents of modernity such as print, education, the new sciences, travel and communication to forge a new aesthetic without completely breaking with the past. They also tried to define, articulate and press for what they thought were their unique linguistic-territorial identities as well as nationalist aspirations. This book investigates the shifting and mutating dispositions of the newly emerged Odia print culture while addressing major questions such as those around colonial modernity, linguistic identity, book history, canon formation and new aesthetic forms.

    Thus, the book is an important addition to the growing body of scholarship on literary cultures in India. It will be of interest to students and researchers of modernity studies, post-colonialism, print and book history, cultural studies, linguistic and critical theory, and languages of Asia.

    Introduction 1. Sahitya in Times of Crisis: Transformations in a Literary Field 2. Print, Periodicals and the Odia Public Sphere 3. Reappraisals and Renewals: The Ancient versus the Modern 4. Mapping the Terrain and Legitimising the Past: The Carving of “Utkal Sahitya” 5. Towards the Shaping of a Moral Community 6. Odia Literary Modernity: Consolidations 7. Conclusion


    Sumanyu Satpathy is Former Professor and Head of the Department of English, University of Delhi, India.