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Thursday, January 26, 2012

The History of Indian English Literature

The final topic I have been considering, is the development of English literature in India. Basically its history, where it came from, where it is, and maybe where it is going, if it is possible to tell that.

In doing this I would need to take a survey of Indian literature from its inception to the present. I think the most important and difficult part of this would be finding the origins. I would like to get down to the very details. When were Indians first using English? And then from those beginnings in clerical notes or whatever it was, trace it all the way back up to the present where there is now everything from user manuals to novels to comics produced in India, by Indians, for Indians in English. I would need to know significant trends and movements, the major authors and influences, the major impetuses for Indians to write in English, and maybe public opinion about English all along the way.

I think libraries, schools, universities, book stores, publishers, and government offices would be my primary sources for information. I do not know how much normal people would be of help in this case, but they might be. It is probably not possible to simply go through everything. I would need to have people that know about these things to contact and work with. I also would need to have a plan of major sources and things that I would need to hit to really learn anything.

The purpose of this would be to put together a coherent sort of history, I guess, of Indian writing in English. I do not think I would have time to do much detail, so it would probably end up being sort of a brief introduction to the topic. Tracing the Origins of Indian writing in English would relate back to its current place in post-colonial literature. By looking at where it has come from, where it is, and where it is going, I would hope to gain insight into how it fits into the paradigm of post-colonilial literature and how it fits into contemporary Indian culture. Perhaps they are related in some way.

I think the main concerns I have with this is that it is such a huge topic and there isn't really a good way to narrow it down. I could choose a specific segment of history to focus on, but anything but the most recent time periods would not really help in looking at how Indian literature fits in with post-colonialism. Also, there is the problem of finding all the sources and knowing them well enough to write them into a history. I assume this is a huge amount of documents. The history of English in India goes back at least a few hundred years. I do not know if I could track down everything I need. I am not exactly sure where to look for it. I get the feeling that I am not going to find what I need in the United States, but in India, at this point, I am not exactly sure where to start looking for something like that. I feel like I would run out of time before I made any significant headway.

Anyhow, that I guess concludes my five question analyses for now. I am tired so they kept getting shorter. I feel bad about that, but I just want to get them done. I feel kind of paralyzed in my research right now because these topics don't exactly jive perfectly. Writing them out has actually really helped me kind of get a feel for what I actually want to do while I am in India and what would conceivably even be possible. I am kind of burned out on writing for the moment, but remind me to write about an epiphany I had about reading while I was thinking about and writing these. I do not know if it will actually end up relevant, but it has suddenly changed how I look at my project. Also, I need to update the Intent and logs pages on my blog. I want to get them with something in them.

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