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How to do multilingual literary history? Lessons from fifteenth- and sixteenth-century north India

By Francesca Orsini

The Indian Economic and Social History Review, Volume 49, Issue 2. 2012

How can we conceptualise multilingual literary culture, and how can we research it? Using the turbulent ‘long fifteenth century’ in north India as a site, this article questions research models based on single languages (Hindi, Urdu) and engages critically with early modern taxonomies and archives. The article focuses on the materiality of the archive —the language, script and format in which texts were written down and copied— on the spaces and locations in which literature was produced and performed, and on the oral-performative practices and agents that made texts circulate to audiences in ways not bound by the script in which the texts appear to us. Not only are the models of composite culture and language-specificity questioned as a result, but the sites of literary production move from the court to a series of intersections, and areas that were peripheral move into view and connect with others.

URL: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/001946461204900203

Courtesy: SAGE

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