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Fashioning readers: canon, criticism and pedagogy in the emergence of modern Oriya literature

Mishra, Pritipuspa (2012) Fashioning readers: canon, criticism and pedagogy in the emergence of modern Oriya literature [in special issue: BASAS special issue] Contemporary South Asia, 20, (1), pp. 135-148. (doi:10.1080/09584935.2011.646080).

Record type: Article


Through a brief history of a widely published canon debate in nineteenth century Orissa, this article describes how anxieties about the quality of ‘traditional’ Oriya literature served as a site for imagining a cohesive Oriya public who would become the consumers and beneficiaries of a new, modernized Oriya-language canon. A public controversy about the status of Oriya literature was initiated in the 1890s with the publication of a serialized critique of the works of Upendra Bhanja, a very popular pre-colonial Oriya poet. The critic argued that Bhanja’s writing was not true poetry, that it did not speak to the contemporary era, and that it featured embarrassingly detailed discussions of obscene material. By unpacking the terms of this criticism and Oriya responses to it, I reveal how at the heart of these discussions were concerns about community building that presupposed a new kind of readership of literature in the Oriya language. Ultimately, this article offers a longer, regional history to the emerging concern of post-colonial scholarship with relationships between publication histories, readerships, and broader ideas of community – local, Indian, and global.

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Accepted/In Press date: January 2012
e-pub ahead of print date: 22 March 2012
Published date: March 2012
Keywords: literary criticism, oriya literature, tradition, public
Organisations: History


Local EPrints ID: 300548
ISSN: 0958-4935
PURE UUID: 98b51ad8-1b36-4b69-b152-3b699357bf67

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Date deposited: 23 Feb 2012 08:26
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:14

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