The Literary Anthology and Readership in Colonial India by Kedar A. Kulkarni

This lecture will discuss the most reprinted book in the Marathi language, Selections of the Marathi Poets, first published in 1854 under the auspices of the Bombay Education Society. Selections has continuously been in print since then, most recently reprinted in 2014. Within its colonial milieu, Selections of the Marathi Poets underwent significant transformations in its first three decades as literati, educationalists, and the public sought out a standardized format for literary anthologies, a format that departed from and retained the residual characteristics of a manuscript.

The lecture will compare some manuscripts from the 18th century to their printed versions in various editions of Selections of the Marathi Poets. Dr. Kulkarni will argue that it is in the cross-medial comparison, between manuscript and book, that we can most closely identify the significance of Selections of the Marathi Poets for transformations of the literary experience and literary practice. With an eye towards the editorial process, my reading of Selections reveals the way poetry is created as an object on the page, and the strong editorial hand that assembled, arranged, and presented poetic materials to the reader. By examining various editions of Selections as well as a few manuscript sources for the collection, this lecture will thus trace the evolution of institutions, practices, and readership in colonial India.

* The lecture will be followed by IAR Reception at 4:00 PM.

About the Speaker:

Image result for kedar kulkarniKedar A. Kulkarni is Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at FLAME University, in Pune, India. His current research focuses on literary transitions between early modern and colonial India, from orally-recited poetry to playwright-centered drama.