Print, Folklore, and Nationalism in Colonial South India

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Orient Blackswan, 2006 - Folklore and nationalism - 247 pages
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This book “Print, Folklore, And Nationalism in Colonial South India” by Stuart Blackburn is a clear research about the changes in print culture in south India of colonial period. This book explains the Shifting emphasis from the effects to the uses of print. As, in the early nineteenth century most printed books were collections of folklore , at that time there was a proverbial saying in the literature on printing –that print did not produce new books, only more old books. In first few chapters this book explains the arrival of print in sixteenth century and it also explains the emergence of new literary practices in the eighteenth century. This book focuses on folklore and colonialism. Folklore was nothing but traditional beliefs, stories, customs etc of a particular community. Folklore plays a important role in history, especially in Indian context. In sixteenth century 84% of the world was colonized, later which lead to the rise of nationalism. As print reached India in mid-sixteenth century, the printed folklore contributed to the rise of nationalism in India. Folklore is nothing but the cultural identity, and Nationalism is a sense of national identity, so these two things has a good relation regarding the rise of nationalism. This book examines the intersection of printing and folklore in the context of colonial south India. It provides a history of printed books in Tamil and argues that printing must be examined alongside a set of literary practices that were largely set in train by the encounter with Europeans and European languages. Blackburn examines the beginnings of the press in this country in this study ranging over three centuries of book publishing: from the activities of the early missionaries, to publishing at the College of Fort St George, as well as local responses through print. This book has several aims and objects, like as it focuses on the convergence between print and folklore in a colonial context, mostly in Tamil & mostly in 19th century madras. It also explains about a Sceptic exploration of the concepts of ‘print culture’ and of the ‘print revolution’. First chapter of this book begins with the early history of Tamil printing in the second half of sixteenth century, and continued to bring the narrative up through the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Author describes the fascinating print rivalry in eighteenth century, between Lutheran and Jesuit missionaries, one of whom, C.G.Beschi, who wrote the first folklore text to enter Tamil literary culture. The core of the book describes the uses of print in nineteenth-century Madras, especially the early decades when pundits set up presses that campaigned against missionary activity and produced books of folklore that were used first in schools and later in nationalist discourse. The book identifies two distinct Tamil formulations of folklore and the nation, which are set against a backdrop of their European counterparts.
The topics Folklore & print can make the study interesting as they both are paradoxical to each other. As print can be in static page and folklore is a living speech. The origin of folklore starts both as a concepts &discipline, stamped with the polarization of the ‘pure oral’ and the ‘defiled industrial age’ of which printing press was an agent. Before the arrival of print into India, literary culture in south India mainly Tamilnadu region comprising of oral traditions and the manuscript was already more than one and a half century old. In this book, about its ancient culture Blackburn argues, was not incompatible with print but rather complementary to it; that is, oral traditions and print coexisted, and were used for different purposes in different spaces and with different consequences.


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Tamil Printed Books Madras 18001830

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