Genre and Domesticity

Shobna Nijhawan

in Women and Girls in the Hindi Public Sphere

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780198074076
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080922 | DOI:
Genre and Domesticity

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This chapter considers five genres: advice texts, fiction, poetry, essays, and speeches. They span from 1911–1927, a period in which women’s responsibilities were increasingly being conceptualized in mainstream nationalist and emerging feminist idioms. Fiction and poetry often depicted ideal, sometimes normative, and also very real quotidian circumstances and conditions of women. Essays were always interrogative and discursive. Speeches were perhaps the most forthright commentaries of all in women’s periodicals: they were critical and often revisited ‘patriarchy’ in light of new demands for women’s emancipation. In addition, the chapter shows how new ideas about women engaged notions of subjectivity and agency, particularly in the discourse of domesticity and its relationship with that of nationalism. It argues that the Hindi woman’s periodicals offered a new forum to negotiate and redefine nationalist ideas on domestic women in the context of modernity.

Keywords: advice texts; fiction; poetry; essays; speeches; domesticity; nationalism; Hindi woman’s periodical; women’s emancipation

Chapter.  20425 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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