Velcheru Narayana Rao

Velcheru Narayana Rao

Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia, Senior Fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities, UW-Madison

Imagined Biographies and Unwritten Readings: Authors and Texts in India's Literatures Wednesday, December 3, 2008 @ 5:00pm Pyle Center

Ever since the impact of the Western ideas of texts and authors through colonial education, there has been a major, but uncritically accepted notion in India that authors, individually identifiable preferably with a place and a date of birth write texts, which form the basis of literary history. Postmodern concepts of text and author significantly unsettled these notions, but not much work was done to go back to the indigenous concepts of authors and texts in India. This presentation aims at presenting evidence from precolonial literary cultures of India to argue for an Indian theory of texts and authors.

Professor Narayana Rao is the author of several books on Telugu Literature and South Indian history. His publications include Girls for Sale: Kanyasulkam. A Play from Colonial India (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), God On the Hill: Temple Songs from Tirupati, with David Shulman (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), Textures of Time: Writing History in South India co-authored with Sanjay Subrahmanyam and David Shulman (New York: The Other Press, 2003), and Hibiscus on the Lake: Twentieth Century Telugu Poetry from India (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003).