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Orsini, Francesca (1996) The Hindi public sphere, 1920-1940. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The 1920s and 1930s were decades of momentous changes and expansion in the Hindi literary sphere In this period Hindi became an established public language in print, education and politics and struggled successfully to become the future national language of India. A market for Hindi literature was first created, journals provided venues for debate and literary expression as well as professional employment, genres and styles were explored in many new directions, and new voices emerged, importantly those of women writers. The nationalist movement, too, entered a new phase which emphasized popular publics and vernacular institutions. Through the concept of 'public sphere' as expounded by Jurgen Habermas and other political scientists, this thesis analyzes those changes at the levels of institutions, actors, discourses and, to a limited extent, of audiences in their proper context and in relation to each other. Chapter 2 explores changes in the literary sphere, both its expansion chiefly through the medium of journals, and its institutionalization through a linguistic and literary agenda in the education system. Chapter 3 analyzes historical debates and narratives in order to trace the consolidation and diffusion of a nationalist historical consciousness. Chapter 4 examines the development of women's journals and the space they provided for a critique of discrimination against women and their public access, and for the exploration of women's roles and emotionality. Chapter 5 focuses on the making of Hindi's claim to be the 'national language', the strategies employed and the exclusions operated in the process of its political affirmation. Chapter 6 explores the relationship between the literary and the political spheres focusing on the role of Hindi intellectuals and political leaders. The institutional authority gained in one sphere underwrote that gained in the other, it shall be argued, and gave credence to an official nationalism that does not reflect the complexity and variety of cultural imagination and literary practices in that period.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:15

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