The Making of Modernity in Persianate Literary History. Alexander Jabbari
Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 36 (2016) 3, pp. 418-434
This article makes an argument for literary modernity as a shared discourse produced through scholarly exchange between Iranians and Indians reworking their shared Persianate literary heritage, considering literary history as an important and perhaps overlooked site for the production of literary modernity. Arguing for a verbal as well as textual discourse of modernity shared between early twentieth-century Iranian and Indian intellectuals, Jabbari examines how these intellectuals made use of premodern materials for their modernizing projects, and how nationalism shaped this process. Four aspects of modern literary history writing receive particular focus here: engagement with the tazkirah tradition, inclusion of extraliterary national figures alongside poets, use of a shared set of references and sources, and new sexual aesthetics that break with the homoerotic Persianate past.