Laghukatha: A Historical & Literary Analysis of a Modern Hindi Prose Genre
By Ira Valeria Sarma
Distributed by Coronet Books Inc.
The book presented here is the first work of Western literary criticism to examine the Hindi Laghukatha a modern Indian prose genre that has been published since the 1970s in Hindi newspapers and magazines and is characterised by its concise form (500 words on average) and socio-political agenda. The importance of the genre within the Hindi literary scene lies in the fact that the Laghukatha is based on indigenous genres which have been modernised, whereas the Hindi short story and the novel are Western genres that have been appropriated and Indianised. A thorough investigation of around 280 primary texts accompanied by an evaluation of the relevant Hindi criticism gives a comprehensive literary analysis of this genre and its historical development. This allows, in conclusion, to delineate an ideal type of Laghukatha, suggesting a range of compulsory, desirable and optional features. English translations of almost fifty representative Hindi texts complete the picture and thus provide an insight into this genre so far unknown to a Western audience.
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