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Sarma, Ira Valeria (2001) The Laghukatha: A Historical and Literary Analysis of a Modern Hindi Prose Genre. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The thesis deals with the laghukatha, a modern Hindi prose genre published primarily in journalistic print media. The introduction discusses the problems of genre criticism in general and establishes the necessity of a flexible generic concept as a basic form of approach. The second part of the thesis investigates the historical development of the genre: the various approaches by Indian laghukatha critics are evaluated, Indian and non-Indian influences are assessed, and the significance of Indian journalism for the emergence of the laghukatha is shown. Thus, the historical section covers a period from ancient times up to the emergence of the laghukatha in the early 1970s and its subsequent establishment as an independent genre during the 1980s and 90s. The third chapter deals with the laghukatha writers' intention as pronounced in various articles and essays. The question of a committed versus a non-committed authorial approach to the laghukatha is discussed and the significance of a committed socio-political attitude as a distinguishing characteristic of the genre is established. Furthermore, a range of means of publication of the texts is introduced, stressing the importance assigned by the writers to the actual communication of a message to an audience. The fourth and main part of the thesis consists of the literary analysis of a representative number of primary texts. The initial methodological section describes how the sample of texts has been drawn. The literary analysis itself is divided into three parts, dealing with several aspects in the areas of content, form and style. The detailed literary analysis serves to establish an 'ideal type' of the genre, delineating some basic principles of the laghukatha without limiting its generic flexibility. In the conclusion the 'ideal type' of the laghukatha is delineated on the basis of the historical, writer-related and literary analysis; finally the laghukatha's position within the modern Hindi literary scene is described.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:18

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