URD 384 • Aesthetics of Genre in Urdu Literature
6:00 PM-9:00 PM
While lyric poetry (ghazal) has dominated our understanding of "classical" Urdu literature, and prose has dominated modern literature, this course looks at the history of narrative poetry, taking as its focus the masnavi genre. Since this genre developed over time, the course will engage in a directed survey of masnavis over time and place (Dakani, Dihlavi, Lakhnavi) from the 17th-19th centuries. Class readings and discussion will include comparison with other literary genres such as ghazal, nazm, qasida and dastan, in order to understand an evolving aesthetics of "purpose(s)" within the literary tradition. The cultural politics of literary production--especially patronage--will represent the primary lens through which such comparisons are made. Discussion will also address the performance of literature in Urdu and its aesthetics.
Secondary readings will constitute an essential part of classwork, and each student will be expected to lead class discussion on these readings at least once during the semester. Class attendance is therefore crucial to the success of the course and to achieving a high grade. Graduate students will translate additional passages and their final project will include original research--in consultation with the instructor--and will be 20+ pages.
Class attendance/reaction papers 30% In-class Midterm 20% Take-home midterm 20% Final Project 30%