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Thursday, January 12, 2012

I need a second source

I am not really sure which one to use for the one tomorrow. I have about ten other books I have read as part of my initial research, but a lot of them, well they are novels and stuff. They are all by Indians, with the exception of The Last Mughal which was by William Dalrymple. However while they may end up informing the direction my project goes, I do not know that they are the sort of thing I would cite necessarily. I am thinking about using The Lost Flamingos of Bombay because that would factor heavily into my ideas about India being fairly independent. However I also sort of feel that it is a fairly western novel. I mean it isn't. The concepts of love and friendship expressed in it (and which arguably form its central thesis) (oh. my. gosh. I can't believe I just talked about the central thesis of a light fiction/quasi-romance novel. I think I just lost some of my personhood) anyhow, these concepts are very much Indian. I have encountered no other society that expresses them so melodramatically. However the exploration of sexual topics as well as the idea of a novel that basically focuses on the rich...I can't decide if the author is just aping the West (a phrase I picked up in India, does that even work in America? is it a British phrase? I have no idea) or if it is a legitimate expression of India just being itself and moving forward. I mean, part of my perspective on the issue is that even if what India writes is exactly like what an American or British author would write, it doesn't matter because as long as India is happy with it and it is what India chooses to do, not because they want approval from the West, but because it is just what they want, then it is the best possible thing for them to do and in no way a form of lingering colonial oppression. So I am still kind of on a fence about that. Plus the worksheet that we fill out seems extremely slanted towards specific, scholarly research. Like I can only see literary criticism articles really applying to those six questions. I don't think the history and fiction novels I have been reading could really be said to have an argument or sources. I mean the history one does, but not in the way that I would be using it.

Bah. I think I will search around a little bit more, but the problem is I do not know that there is a ton of scholarly literature on Indian literature. Last semester I wrote an analysis on three of Jhumpa Lahiri's short stories. It was sort of difficult finding useful critical sources. And she is technically an American. I should have ordered a copy of JNU's journal of literary criticism a few months ago when I was tempted to. That would probably come in handy now.

Oh well. In other news, I broke down and finally bought a copy of the Qur'an (Koran? I don't know the currently acceptable Englishization of that word) for some background reading. I have already read two sort of easy versions of the Ramayan and I have a literary version, but I have been holding off on buying the Qur'an (that one looks the most accurate, although that could just be my western stereotyping of the Arabic world (read: (especially in this case) the orient) making that judgment) because I know that unlike most Hindu religious texts, it seems like translation matters. I just want the most accurate possible text. However I have concluded that it seems like every text is considered biased by someone. I will probably just have to end up getting four or five Qur'ans to get as accurate picture of the text as possible. I also would like to read the Mahabharat before I leave, but we will see if I get around to that. The version that I would like to read is like eighty dollars, so I will have to find something cheaper. Bah! Why does translation have to complicate everything so much! I have so much background reading to do! I really want my other English reading assignments to go away so I can dig into the six or seven books I bought about Hinduism and Islam. I really want to have a fairly good grip on the religions this time round.

Oh, and I think I will post the twenty-five question thing tomorrow. I think I will use it as a warm up for class since I won't have any Hindi homework I have to cram.

Also, this weekend I promise I will get caught up on tags. It is on my to do list. Incidentally making a to do list is also on my to do list. But I digress.

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