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Alkazi Theatre Archives

A Bibliographic Listing from the Archive

A Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre History

Book: A Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre History
Edited by: Aparna Dharwadker
Published by: Oxford University Press, 2019

Aparna Dharwadker in her book ‘A Poetics of Modernity: Indian Theatre Theory,’ explores three seemingly contradictory process — the active pursuit of Europeanized modernity, the classical Sanskrit legacy and an unwavering commitment to the modern Indian languages ( instead of English), original dramatic writing, translation and an indigenous style of dance-music for the theatre (p.xlvii). Dharwadker divides the history of modern Indian theatre into four different periods (Inception, 1790 – 1870; Consolidation, 1870 – 1930; Revision, 1940 – 1955; Post-Independence Expansion 1955 – present) marked by significant changes in the form and content of Indian theatre.

The book brings together 76 primary texts spanning over 160 years of Indian theatre and originating from nine different languages (most prominently English, Bengali, Hindi, and Marathi, but also Kannada, Urdu, Gujarati, Telugu, Tamil, and Malayalam) and reflects the viewpoints of 70 modern theatre practitioners, playwrights, and critics.

According to Dharwadker, “My purpose, instead, has been to outline and suggest the formal diversity of sources since the mid-19th century that yield theoretically significant material… What we can acknowledge in the meantime is that the scope of modern theatre theory remains obscure due to fragmentation by region and language…” (p. lxv)

A Poetics of Modernity- Indian Theatre History