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Colonizing the Realm of Words: The Transformation of Tamil by Sascha Ebeling

By Sascha Ebeling

Information the transformation of Tamil literary tradition that got here with colonialism and the come upon with Western modernity.

A actual travel de strength, this publication files the transformation of 1 Indian literature, Tamil, less than the influence of colonialism and Western modernity. whereas Tamil is a residing language, it's also India’s moment oldest classical language subsequent to Sanskrit, and has a literary historical past that is going again over thousand years. at the foundation of intensive archival study, Sascha Ebeling tackles a number of matters pertinent to Tamil elite literary construction and intake in the course of the 19th century. those comprise the functioning and decline of conventional platforms during which poet-scholars have been patronized by way of non secular associations, landowners, and native kings; the anatomy of alterations in textual practices, genres, types, poetics, subject matters, tastes, and audiences; and the position of literature within the politics of social reform, gender, and incipient nationalism. The paintings concludes with a dialogue of the main outstanding literary improvement of the time—the emergence of the Tamil novel.

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Bayly has postulated what he calls an “information revolution,” which consisted in the “creation of new, knowledgeable institutions: the army, the political services, the revenue, legal and educational establishments” and the “emergence of an attenuated sphere of public debate in which European expatriate ideologues and a handful of Indian spokesmen attempted to critique government and society through the press and public meeting” (1999: 143). The development of public opinion in the Madras Presidency is traced by Sadasivan (1974) and Raman (1999).

Pope observed: “There exists now much of what is called Christian Tamil, a dialect created by the Danish missionaries of Tranquebar; enriched by generations of Tanjore, German, and other missionaries; modified, purified, and refrigerated by the Swiss Rhenius and the very composite Tinnevelly school; expanded and harmonized by Englishmen, amongst whom Bower (a Eurasian) was foremost in his day; and, finally, waiting now for the touch of some heaven-born genius among the Tamil community to make it as sweet and effective as any language on earth, living or dead” (1995: xii, original emphasis).

1837),56 Karl Graul (1814–1864),57 Peter Percival (1803–1882),58 and Miron Winslow (1789–1864),59 to name only some of the more impor53. Abbé J. A. Dubois of the Mission Étrangères in Paris has become famous for his general encyclopaedic account of South Indian culture Description of the Character, Manners, and Customs of the People of India; and of their Institutions, Religious and Civil, first published in an English translation in 1817 (see Dubois 1817) and 1825 in the original French Moeurs, institutions et cérémonies des peuples de l’Inde (Dubois 1825).

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