Print-languages and literature were vital instruments
for crafting identities in colonial India, generating complex power struggles in the
process. Contrary to the popular belief that flourishing high literatures succeeded
in wiping out ephemeral and cheap prints in nineteenth-century Bengal, Power in
Print demonstrates that the latter survived with much strength and
Ghosh argues that cheap printing techniques and the spread of basic
literacy in Bengal in fact created a sizeable body of printer-publishers, authors
and readers of relatively plebeian origin. In this pioneering study, she unearths the
substantial low-life popular print-cultures that made use of the vibrant publishing
milieu to proudly assert their linguistic alterity.
understandings of the cultural experience of the period, this book reopens some
fundamental debates on the social structure of literacy and the Bengali bhadralok
intelligentsia. If offers a reassessment of the groups previously thought to inhabit
the peripheries of print-cultures-petty urban dwellers, women, impoverished
Muslims, and low castes.
On account of the originality and richness of the
source material and innovative approach towards understanding the vernacular
print, this interdisciplinary study will appeal to historians, sociologists, and
linguists alike. It will be important reading for students and scholars working in
areas related to print, language, popular literature, social identity, and culture in
colonial societies and those interested in the history of colonial Bengal.
About the Author
Anindita Ghosh is Lecturer in Modern History,
Schools of Arts, Histories and Cultures, University of Manchester.
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