Performance Narratives and the Mughal Factor

Kumkum Chatterjee

in The Cultures of History in Early Modern India

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780195698800
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080243 | DOI:
Performance Narratives and the Mughal Factor

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Like most pre-modern societies, Bengal produced a large literature that was mostly performative. These narratives, written in rhyming verse, had a textual dimension but they were written for performance and were mostly enjoyed as such. This chapter examines these performance narratives, particularly the Mangalkavya genre. It discusses the genealogy, performance-dimension, social context, and the functions of Mangalkavyas. It then focuses on two Mangalkavyas which were produced around the middle of the eighteenth century. One of these was the Maharashtapurana, composed by Gangaram in 1751–2. The other is the Annadamangala of ‘Roygunakar’ Bharatchandra Roy, often considered to represent the highest pinnacle of achievement to be reached by Bengali literature in the early modern period.

Keywords: pre-modern societies; Mangalkavya; performance narratives; Bengal; genealogy; Maharashtapurana; Annadamangala; Bengali literature

Chapter.  12731 words. 

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