Skip to main content

Text and Tradition in South India

Releasing in June 2016



‘Significant volumes, authored both by single individuals and by larger collectivities, have been published on the literary cultures of South Asia, and on the fraught relationship between print and manuscript cultures over the colonial period, and even increasingly on what may very broadly be termed a “history of political thought.” It is my contention that a major role in these changes has been played by the author of the essays collected in this volume, Velcheru Narayana Rao . . .  because of his rather atypical trajectory, and his distance from the more recognizable (or stereotyped) positions and “schools”, Narayana Rao’s larger contribution has not been adequately recognized beyond an “insider group” of scholars, even though his contribution to the study of Telugu literature itself is broadly known to a public of enthusiasts as  well as scholars.’
SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAM

Velcheru Narayana Rao’s contribution to understanding Indian cultural history, literary production, and intellectual life — specifically from the vantage of the Andhra region — has few parallels.  He is one of the very rare scholars to be able to reflect magisterially on the pre-colonial and colonial periods. He moves easily between Sanskrit and the vernacular traditions, and between the worlds of orality and script.

This is because of his mastery of the “classical”  Telugu tradition. As Sanjay Subrahmanyam puts it in his Introduction, “To command nearly a thousand years of a literary tradition is no small feat, but more important still is VNR’s ability constantly to offer fresh readings and provocative frameworks for interpretation.”

The essays and reflections in Text and Tradition in South India bring together the diverse and foundational contributions made by Velcheru Narayana Rao to the rewriting of India’s cultural and literary history.

No-one seriously interested in the history of Indian ideas, the social and cultural history of South India, and the massive intellectual traditions of the subcontinent can do without this book.

VELCHERU NARAYANA RAO (b. 1932) is a renowned scholar of Indian cultural and literary history. Educated in India, he taught Telugu and Indian literatures for thirty-eight years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has also taught at the University of Chicago and is currently Visiting Distinguished Professor of South Asian Studies at Emory University. He has written more than fifteen books, many of them in collaboration with David Shulman and Sanjay Subrahmanyam. These include the hugely influential Textures of Time: Writing History in South India (Permanent Black, 2001), and a translation of Peddana’s The Story of Manu (with David Shulman; Harvard University Press, 2015).



HARDBACK| Rs 995| Buy


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

THE GREAT AGRARIAN CONQUEST by NEELADRI BHATTACHARYA

BUY THE PAPERBACK       FROM THE REVIEWS   Review in SOCIAL HISTORY, USA by Benjamin Siegel The Great Agrarian Conquest represents a massive intervention into the contemporary historiography of South Asia, elaborating upon some conventional wisdom but upending a great deal more of it. Readers might well place this book in conversation with works like Ranajit Guha ’ s A Rule of Property for Bengal (1963) and Bernard Cohn ’ s Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1997), to which The Great Agrarian Conquest owes some preliminary inspiration. Yet what Bhattacharya o ff ers is a wholly original account of the transformation to agrarian colonialism . . .   Few volumes in South Asian history have been more awaited than this monograph, Neeladri Bhattacharya ’ s fi rst. One of the most celebrated mentors and researchers at New Delhi ’ s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bhattacharya retired in 2017 after a decades-long career. His formal scholarly output, limited to sev

Dhriti K. Lahiri Choudhury

We are very sad to know that Professor Dhriti K. Lahiri Choudhury has passed away. He died on Friday morning in Calcutta.  Dr Lahiri Choudhury, born in 1931, did many things: with a PhD from Leeds in English Literature, he combined his work with elephants with teaching at Rabindra Bharati University. He was a member of the IUCN elephant group and of Project Elephant. It was a joy for us to publish his Trunk Full of Tales: Seventy Years with the Indian Elephant -- the editorial sessions involved long, old-style sessions of story-telling which should have been around a campfire. He would tell of his many hair-raising journeys across Assam, Meghalaya, Bengal, the Barak Valley and elsewhere, in search of rogue elephants or on arduous elephant surveys, when the evenings always began with emptying blood-soaked boots of leeches; he would talk lovingly of the elephants in his childhood home in Mymensingh -- now in Bangladesh -- their names and foibles; and of drinking elephant milk

"Every nationality has its own distinct stench": by G. Kanato Chophy

A wonderfully written and deeply moving new book on society and history in Nagaland over the past couple of centuries has just been published by Permanent Black and Ashoka University in collaboration with the New India Foundation. Its young author, G. Kanato Chophy, is one of the brightest Naga scholars on the Indian horizon from the north-east. Permanent Black asked Kanato to reflect on what’s in his book and why he wrote it. For some time now I’ve been wanting to work on a book called “constitutional Indians” – a concept that I have briefly touched upon in the conclusion of the book you’ve just published. My argument in it is that, for a putatively renegade ethnic community like the Nagas, the “idea of India” hangs precariously in the balance, supported by a piece of paper, the Indian Constitution, which we have until recently understood as a guarantee of equal rights to Indian citizens irrespective of religion, ethnicity, class, and gender. I belong to an emerging class of educated