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date: 25 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The genre of tragedy, which was introduced to Indian cultures through colonial hegemony, challenged the norms of Sanskrit and other indigenous literatures. This essay explores the tensions that arose with the entry of this ‘newness’, by tracing the reception, influence and assimilation of tragedy in some of the major Indian literatures viz. Bengali, Marathi, Kannada and Hindi. The most influential examples of tragedy were those of Shakespeare, and their modes of structure and characterization, as well as the world view they incorporate, have been debated, adapted, and accepted in different ways by critics, playwrights, and now film makers, through the several stages of Indian colonial and postcolonial cultural history spanning more than a century and half. Among this diversity of approaches to Shakespearean tragedy, the interpolation of a female avenger into many adaptations is singled out as a specifically Indian act of cultural translation.

Keywords: tragedy, newness of in Indian literatures, tensions, reception, influence, assimilation

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