This book reconstructs the history of print and publishing in colonial Bengal by tracing the unexpected journey of Bharat Chandra’s Bidyasundar, the first book published by a Bengali entrepreneur.
The introduction of printing technology by the British in Bengal expanded the scope of publication and consumption of books significantly. This book looks at the developments and the parallel publishing initiatives of that time. It examines local enterprises in colonial Bengal engaged in producing and selling books and explores the ways in which they charted out a cultural space in the 19th century. The work sheds fresh light on book production and the culture of print, and narrates the processes behind the printing of books to understand the multi-layered literary practices they sustained.
A valuable addition to the history of publishing in India, this book will be useful to scholars and researchers of South Asian and Indian history, Bengali literature, media and cultural studies, and print and publishing studies. It will also appeal to those interested in the history of Bengal and the Bengali diaspora.
Table of Contents
Introduction 1. Bards in Court: Birth of a Text 2. Publishers in City: Birth of a Book 3. Missionary Among Critics: Start of Reviews 4. Actors on Stage: Recreation of the Fable 5. Tale Among Tales: The Spread of Print 6. Slokas from the Past: Reproduction of the Legend 7. Intellectuals in Discussion: Reinstating the Classic. Epilogue. Select Bibliography
Tapti Roy is an independent scholar based in Cambridge, UK. She is the author of The Politics of Popular Uprising: Bundelkhand in 1857 (1994) and Raj of the Rani (2006). She has also contributed chapters to edited volumes: ‘Disciplining the Printed Text: Colonial and Nationalist Surveillance of Bengali Literature’ in Texts of Power: Emerging Disciplines in Colonial Bengal (1995) and ‘Tracking the Ephemeral: Elokeshi-Nabin-Mohanto Episode and the History of Print in Bengal’ in On Modern Indian Sensibilities: Culture, Politics, History (2018). She manages the blog pastconnect.net.