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Orsini, Francesca (2023) 'Literary Multilingualism in the Age of the Vernacular.' In: Anjaria, Ulka and Nerlekar, Anjali, (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Indian Literatures. Oxford: Oxford University Press, C1P1-C1N9.

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Despite the powerful reimagining of the multilingual landscape of South Asia into monolingual regions beginning in the early 19th century, and the aspiration toward one overarching national language, multilingualism has continued to inform South Asian literatures in visible and invisible ways. This chapter explores how. At an individual level, education usually predicts one’s reading and writing language(s), but family history, politics, and personal inclination may add other languages. Aural access leads to a multilingual familiarity that may or may not translate onto the written page, while poetic literacy can be acquired and transmitted orally with only a tenuous grasp of the language, as the enduring popularity of Urdu poetry/sha‘iri shows. Cities and borderlands often act as multilingual “contact zones” (Pratt), though they can also gather authors and publics in networks and spaces segmented by language. When we see modern Indian literary history solely through the efflorescence of the vernaculars from the 19th century onward, or through the hierarchy between English and the bhashas, we overlook the intense multilingualism across bhashas and across the English-bhasha divide, which in fact constitutes modern Indian literary history.

Item Type: Book Chapters
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISBN: 9780197647912
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 05 Nov 2023 10:05

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