Shakespeare studies in Colonial Bengal : The early phase.

DAHIYA, Hema. (2011). Shakespeare studies in Colonial Bengal : The early phase. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Shakespeare was formally introduced in Colonial Bengal when Hindu College was established in 1817. This thesis highlights how in the midst of running controversy between Orientalists and Anglicists, amidst intense rivalry between Christian missionaries and orthodox Hindus, Hindu College pioneered Shakespeare studies, keeping it free from religious orthodoxy, and imparting secular ideas of Renaissance humanism.Describing the historical role the leading founders of the college - Raja Rammohan Roy and David Hare - played in creating environment of secularism, this thesis is focussed on the work of three early teachers of English at Hindu College -Henry Derozio, D.L. Richardson, and H.M. Percival - who laid the foundation of Shakespeare studies in colonial Bengal. Derozio's inspiring teaching made his students not only crusaders against orthodoxy but also fighters for freedom thereby igniting the flame of the Bengal Renaissance. A poet like Derozio, Richardson, besides teaching Shakespeare's plays and promoting their performance, emerged as the first major literary critic of Shakespeare and other English poets. Percival, continuing the secular tradition of teaching, also became the first major editor of Shakespeare for Indian students, who edited with long introductions the texts of six plays.This thesis highlights the pioneering role of these three eminent teachers of English at Hindu College who established Shakespeare studies as a secular learning of humanist ideas. This thesis also challenges the sweeping generalisation of postcolonial criticism that English education in colonial India, including Shakespeare teaching, was used to promote the political agenda of the British rulers. It points out that Shakespeare teaching as a component of English education at Hindu College defies that generalisation. Besides, if English education promoted colonial interests, it also inducted ideas of the European Enlightenment that contributed towards the general awakening in colonial Bengal. In the era of postcolonial theory's dominance in English studies, this thesis offers an original contribution to knowledge by putting forth evidence in support of secular Shakespeare studies in colonial Bengal spearheaded by eminent teachers like Derozio, Richardson, and Percival.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Thesis advisor - Hopkins, Lisa
Thesis advisor - Rutter, Tom
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2011.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:19
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2021 11:39

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