Organized Panel Session
Literary cultures in premodern South Asia were always characterized by a high degree of intertextuality. Constantly relying on, quoting from, alluding to, or retelling other texts - in the same language or in other languages - literary works participated in numerous discursive spaces, across time, genre, and language. This panel seeks to explore the variegated manifestations of intertextuality, specifically through the prism of interlingual transposition, in premodern South Asian literary cultures.
Inspired by Gerard Genette’s mapping of the two main ways for a text to be hypertextual - “Saying the same thing differently” and “saying another thing similarly” - the papers in this panel aim to unpack and understand the various textual practices and processes that shaped the production of literary texts across languages, examine the themes, tropes and philological knowledge that were picked up, and analyze the ways these were used, stylized, and manipulated in the new hypertexts. The speakers on this panel are thus interested not only in what was translated and retold, but more importantly, in how these literary creations were conceived, executed, and received.
By closely examining literary and poetic translations, namely, a 17th century Persian versified translation of the Ramayana, two 19th century Urdu retellings of the Persian romance Qissah-e-Gul-e-Bakawli, and 18th century Bengali translations of the Sanskrit Caurapañcāśika, this panel aims at illuminating new aspects of South Asian literary cultures and their interrelations with one another, while rethinking the notion of translation, both as a textual practice and a final literary product.