ASIAN 498A/ENGL 540: RADICAL FICTIONS: LITERARY MODERNISMS IN SOUTH ASIA
This course surveys the development of literary modernism in the context of South Asia, which includes the present-day nations of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka. It offers an introduction to the major thinkers, writers, and centers for literary modernism in colonial and postcolonial South Asia. We will start with some of the major interventions in new modernist studies and world literature, as well as some recent questioning by postcolonial scholars such as Aamir Mufti. We will then consider the flowering of literary modernism in various languages (Hindi, Urdu, English, and Malayalam), juxtaposing primary texts by authors including Premchand, Rabindranath Tagore, Manto, Nirmal Verma, Agyeya, Arun Kolatkar, Arvind Krishna Malhotra, and O. V. Vijayan, with recent scholarship on the literary and historical contexts of their work and of literary modernism as a whole. Literary modernist movements studied include Premchand and social realism; Tagore and the Bengal School; the Progressive Writers’ Movement; the “New Story” movement in Hindi; the sathottari period in Bombay; and postcolonial Indian theater. We will also discuss the impact of visual and aural media such as painting, film, and song on literary modernisms in South Asia. This course is ideal for students looking for a literary and historical grounding in global modernist cultures, theories of modernism and world literature, and modern South Asian literatures. Students with a background in related disciplines such as English, comparative literature, art history, history, anthropology, religion, and urban studies are welcome. No experience with South Asia is necessary, and all works will be read in English translation.