Kama's Flowers

Nature in Hindi Poetry and Criticism, 1885-1925

By Valerie Ritter

Subjects: India And South Asian Studies, Asian Literature, Asian Studies, Comparative Literature
Series: SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Paperback : 9781438435664, 366 pages, July 2012
Hardcover : 9781438435657, 366 pages, September 2011

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Table of contents

Foreword
Acknowledgments
Transliteration Conventions and Abbreviations
Note on Translations
Abbreviations
1. Terms of Engagement: A Guide to the Assumptions of Hindi Poetics
2. Critical Nature
3. Nature in Translation
4. Realizing Classical Poetics
5. Independent Subjects: Modern Modes of Nature as a Literary Subject
6. Embodying the World
7. Women Problems: Poetics without Śṛṅgāra
8. A Critical Interlude: Rāmacandra Śukla and “Natural Scenes in Poetry (1923)
9. The Prospect of Chāyāvād, 1920–25
Concluding Remarks
Notes
Select Bibliography
Index

Explores the transformation of Hindi poetry as it reflects a changing society during the period from 1885 to 1925.

Description

Kama's Flowers documents the transformation of Hindi poetry during the crucial period of 1885-1925. As Hindi was becoming a national language and Indian nationalism was emerging, Hindi authors articulated a North Indian version of modernity by reenvisioning nature. While their writing has previously been seen as an imitation of European Romanticism, Valerie Ritter shows its unique and particular function in North India. Description of the natural world recalled traditional poetics, particularly erotic and devotional poetics, but was now used to address sociopolitical concerns, as authors created literature to advocate for a "national character" and to address a growing audience of female readers.

Examining Hindi classics, translations from English poetry, literary criticism, and little-known popular works, Ritter combines translations with fresh literary analysis to show the pivotal role of nature in how modernity was understood. Bringing a new body of literature to English-language readers, Kama's Flowers also reveals the origins of an influential visual culture that resonates today in Bollywood cinema.

Valerie Ritter received her PhD in Asian Languages and Literature from the University of Washington and has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of Virginia.