Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

English

Major Professor

Gurleen Grewal, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gil Ben-Herut, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Hunt Hawkins, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Quynh Nhu Le, Ph.D.

Keywords

South Asian Literature, Epic, Gender, Hinduism

Abstract

This project delineates a cultural history of modern Hinduism in conversation with contemporary Indian literature. Its central focus is literary adaptations of the Sanskrit epic the Mahābhārata, in English, Hindi, and Bengali. Among Hindu religious texts, this epic has been most persistently reproduced in literary and popular discourses because its scale matches the grandeur of the Indian national imagining. Further, many epic adaptations explicitly invite devotion to the nation, often emboldening conservative Hindu nationalism. This interdisciplinary project draws its methodology from literary theory, history, gender, and religious studies. Little scholarship has put Indian Anglophone literatures in conversation with other Indian literary traditions. To fill this gap, I chart a history of literary and cultural transactions between both India and Britain and among numerous vernacular, classical, and Anglophone traditions within India. Paying attention to gender, caste, and cultural hegemony, I demostrate how epic adaptations both narrate and contest the contours of the Indian nation.

Available for download on Saturday, June 09, 2018

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