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The Cultures of History in Early Modern IndiaPersianization and Mughal Culture in Bengal$
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Kumkum Chatterjee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195698800

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195698800.001.0001

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Prose Narratives of Kings

Prose Narratives of Kings

Between ‘Old’ and ‘New’

(p.123) 4 Prose Narratives of Kings
The Cultures of History in Early Modern India

Kumkum Chatterjee

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on a group of Bengali prose narratives composed during the first decade of the nineteenth century, tracing their historiographic substance and style. These narratives represented accounts of past kings and their deeds — one of the most common topics in pre-modern historiography. It begins by examining the significance attached by scholars to the transition of a literary culture from verse to prose. It then considers whether the issues raised by this discussion are applicable to the region and the literary/historical culture studied here. It examines the history of prose-use in Bengal prior to the nineteenth century and the linguistic and literary influences which affected it. The third section suggests that Persian language and literary culture functioned as significant influences on Bengali prose, especially during the seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. Finally, a cluster of prose narratives works in Bengali are discussed.

Keywords:   Bengali prose narratives, kings, historiography, linguistic influences, literary culture, prose-use, Persian language

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