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Texture of Time: Writing History in South India 1600-1800

Sanjay Subrahmanyam (Author) Velcheru Narayana Rao (Author) David Shulman (Author)
Synopsis Everyone has a past: the question is what one does with it. If generations of scholars are to be believed, south Indian society in the centuries before colonial rule showed an indifference to its past—or, at best, approached the past through myth, legend and phantasmagoria. This book sets out not merely to disprove that idea, but to demonstrate in some detail the complex forms of historiography that were produced in South India between the fifteenth and the eighteenth centuries. Following an earlier work by the same three authors, Symbols of Substance (1992), the present book uses a diversity of languages to draw upon a variety of sources that are considered unconventional. The authors argue that the usual division between Indo-Persian and vernacular historiographies is artificial. They demonstrate the existence of a group of literati (karanams), who passed with ease from Telugu and Tamil to Marathi and Persian. Through a careful reading of and extensive translations from the relevant texts, the book thus sets out to shake some of the deepest-rooted prejudices that exist in the received wisdom on medieval and early modern India. The approach and arguments within this book will interest historians of other parts of the world who study the same period, since the problem is posed in an explicitly comparative framework.
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About the authors

Sanjay Subrahmanyam

SANJAY SUBRAHMANYAM is professor and holder of the Navin and Pratima Doshi Chair of Indian History at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of several books, including The Career and Legend of Vasco da Gama and the two-volume Explorations in Connected History.

Velcheru Narayana Rao

Velcheru Narayana Rao is Krishnadewaraya Professor of Language and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisonsin, Madison. He is the author of a number of works on Telugu Literature.

David Shulman

David Shulman is Professor of Indian Studies and Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel. He is the author of several works on Tamil, Telugu, and Sanskrit literature and poetics, and on the history of religion in South India.

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Bibliographic information

Title Texture of Time: Writing History in South India 1600-1800
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Permanent Black
Language: English
isbn 9788178240237
length xii+296p., Maps.
Subjects History