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Abstract

This dissertation foregrounds the environment as a key concern for the study of modern and contemporary Hindi literature. It takes the “environment” to be a polyvalent term that encompasses histories of environment-making, material histories and more contemporary senses of environmental crises. It draws on these different senses to rethink literary critical approaches to the “environment” as a frame for narrative worlds as well as aesthetic senses of nature. Beginning with the era of decolonization, following Indian independence, the project inscribes environmental and material histories as an important, though neglected, constituent of the study of modern Hindi literature.It revisits critical debates on realism and the Hindi novel; modernism in the context of the Hindi short story and the poetics of nature in Hindi eco-poetry and shows how an attention to the environment might enrich questions of literary representation and form. It concludes with more contemporary senses of environmental crises while emphasizing the underlying tensions between an aesthetic of nature in Hindi eco-poetry and the hybrid natures that have emerged in the wake of globalization.

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