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Power in Print: Popular Publishing and the Politics of Language and Culture in a Colonial Society

Power in Print: Popular Publishing and the Politics of Language and Culture 
in a Colonial Society
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Item Code: IDG903
Author: Anindita Ghosh
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 0195673298
Pages: 348 {12 Illustration in B/W}
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.6" X 5.7"
From the Jacket

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 vitality.

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.

Challenging conventional 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.

List of Illustration vi
Acknowledgements ix
Introduction 1
1 Social Profile of a Language 29
2 Literature, Language and Reform 66
3 The Battala Book Market 107
4 Contesting Print Audiences 152
5 Satire and Social Discord 189
6 Women Refusing Conformity 225
7 Bengali and its Muslim Other 259
Conclusion 295
Bibliography 308
Index 339

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