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Date: September 19 (Monday), 2016

Time: 13:00-17:00

Venue: Seminar Room, 3F, Hongo Satellite, Tokyo University of Foreign Languages

http://www.tufs.ac.jp/access/hongou.html (map in Japanese language)



Francesca Orsini
(Professor of Hindi and South Asian Literature at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)

“Reading Together: Village Pasts and Futures in Hindi, Urdu, and English Novels”

What does it mean to take multilingualism seriously when studying literature? One way, this paper suggests, is to consider works on a similar topic or milieu written in the different languages and compare both their literary sensibilities and their social imaginings. Rural Awadh offers an excellent example, as the site of many intersecting processes and discourses—of shared Hindu-Muslim sociality and culture and Muslim separatism, of nostalgia for a sophisticated culture and critique of zamindari exploitation and socio-economic backwardness, as the home of Urdu and of rustic Awadhi. This chapter analyses three novels written at different times about rural Awadh—one set before 1947 and the others in the wake of the Zamindari Abolition Act of 1950 and the migration of so many Muslim zamindars from Awadh, either to Pakistan or to Indian cities. The first is Shivaprasad Singh’s Alag alag vaitarī (1967) , the other two are Qazi Abdul Sattar’s Urdu novel Shab-gazīda (1988) and the Awadh subplot in Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy (1993). Without making them representatives of their respective languages, by “reading together” these three novels I am interested in exploring how they frame and what they select of Awadh culture, how much ground and sensibility do they share, and how they fit within and contribute to broader traditions of “village writing” in Hindi, Urdu and Indian English.

Commentator: Dr. Hisako Matsukizono (Osaka University)

※Language: English

※Free admission. No need for reservation.


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