Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Print and Silence

Silent reading is so common that we associate reading aloud with children and neo-literate adults. Print has produced a revolution in reading habits, enhanced by the development prose genres such as essays, short stories and novels. This has made silent reading so widespread that we now often regard it as the only mode of reading.

We clearly distinguish reading from singing, but not too long ago, texts in Indian languages were written in meter and read out loud, even when one was reading for oneself. While this was not singing, it was a certain way of articulation inseparable from the meaning of the text.

Have we lost something of the meaning of a text by silent reading? This lecture attempts to answer this question and in the process explores the nature of Indian text and the concept of ‘author’ in Indian literary culture.

Velcheru Narayana Rao taught Telugu and Indian literatures for thirty-eight years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also taught at the University of Chicago, and is currently Visiting Distinguished Professor of South Asian Studies at Emory. He has written more than fifteen books: Textures of Time: Writing History in South India, in collaboration with David Shulman and Sanjay Subrahmanyam (New York: Other Press, 2003),Girls for SaleKanyasulkam: A Play from Colonial India (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), and How Urvasi Was Won, a translation of Kalidasa's Vikramorvasiyam, in collaboration with David Shulman (Clay Sanskrit Library, 2009) are among his recent publications. 
Narayana Rao's scholarship spans many areas of cultural and literary history. Some of his ideas and perspectives, especially those relating to early modernity and oral communities in India, are unique.

This talk has been possible with the support of Raghu Tenkayala, Nagaraju Pappu and Sreenivas Paruchuri. 
E-vite design: Roshan Shakeel 

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