Urbanity in the Vernacular: Narrating the City in Modern South Asian Literatures

Hans Harder

Asiatische Studien – Études Asiatiques, Vol. 70 Issue 2 (May 2016)
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/asia-2015-0054

This article explores some facets of literary urbanity in modern South Asian literatures such as Urdu, Bengali, Hindi and Marathi. Taking the proliferation of megacity research in present-day urban studies as my starting point, I intend to show that literatures in the regional languages of South Asia provide a rich archive of city representations and discourses about urbanity – an archive that is highly neglected particularly if compared to the corpus of English writings along these lines. Sections on genres such as the Urdu šahr āšob, Bengali nakˈśā, Marathi humourism, Bengali theatre and the Hindi and Bengali novel, among others, will provide ample glimpses and some analysis of this archive stretching from the eighteenth century to the present. One of the guiding lines of investigation will be the quest for an alternative urbanism in these non-English sources.

Keywords: urbanity; South Asian literature; Bengali; Hindi; Marathi; Urdu

A version of this article is available on academia.edu; please google if interested.

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