Course Convenor: Graham Shaw
Maximum: 15 students
Venue: Senate House

This course aims to give students an introduction to the history of the book - both manuscript and printed – in undivided India (modern India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh) from the 1st century CE to the present day. It will examine the interplay of manuscript and print with the abiding Indian oral traditions of textual transmission through memorization and performance. It will highlight the development and influence of the different schools of manuscript production and illustration: Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Islamic and Sikh. The history of the various printing technologies deployed – xylography, typography and lastly lithography – will be covered and their impact assessed. The course will also treat developments during the British colonial period, including the explosion of print in all the regional languages in the 19th century, the exploitation of India by British publishers as a market for educational works and leisure-reading, the huge phenomenon of Christian missionary publishing, censorship under the Raj, and the role of print in the Indian Freedom Movement. The changes in Indian publishing brought about by independence in 1947 will be discussed, including the rise of the Indian editor, book illustration, and the influence of government. Finally, some of the salient features of contemporary Indian publishing will be covered, such as the continuing growth in newspaper readership, the impact on India of publishing’s globalization, the arrival of e-media, the role of book-fairs in distribution, publishing by the Indian diaspora, and not least the resurgence of religious censorship. 


Recommended Introductory Reading

BAYLY, Christopher A.  Empire and information: intelligence gathering and social communication in India, 1780-1870.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

BLACKBURN, Stuart.  Print, folklore, and nationalism in colonial South India.  Delhi: Permanent Black, 2003. 

CHAKRAVORTY, Swapan, & GUPTA, Abhijit (eds.)  New word order: essays on the transnational history of the book.  New Delhi: Worldview, 2010.

CHATTERJEE, Rimi.  Empires of the mind: a history of the Oxford University Press in India under the Raj.  New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006.

FRASER, Robert, & HAMMOND, Mary (ed.) Books without borders …  Volume 2: Perspectives from South Asia.  Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.

GHOSH, Anindita.  Power in print: popular publishing and the politics of language and culture in a colonial society, 1778-1905.  New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006.

GOSWAMY, B. N.  The word is sacred, sacred is the word: the Indian manuscript tradition.  New Delhi: Niyogi Books, 2006.

GUPTA, Abhijit.  ‘Book history in India’, Histoire et civilisation du livre: revue internationale VIII: Pour une histoire transnationale du livre (2012), pp. 147-160.

GUPTA, Abhijit.  ‘The Indian subcontinent’, in Michael Suarez & Henry R. Woudhuysen (eds.), The book: a global history (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), pp. 553-572.

GUPTA, Abhijit, & CHAKRAVORTY, Swapan (eds.) Founts of knowledge: book history in India.  New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2016.

GUPTA, Abhijit, & CHAKRAVORTY, Swapan (eds.) Moveable type: book history in India.  Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2008.

GUPTA, Abhijit, & CHAKRAVORTY, Swapan (eds.) Print areas: book history in India.  Delhi: Permanent Black, 2004. 

JEFFREY, Robin.  India’s newspaper revolution: capitalism, politics and the Indian-language press.  Second edition.  New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000.

KESAVAN, Bellary Shamanna. History of printing and publishing in India: a story of cultural re-awakening.  New Delhi: National Book Trust, India, 1985-97.  3 vols.
LOSTY, Jeremiah P.  The art of the book in India.  London: The British Library, 1982.

LOSTY, Jeremiah P.  Indian book painting.  London: The British Library, 1986.

LOSTY, Jeremiah P, & ROY, Malini.  Mughal India: art, culture and empire: manuscripts and paintings in the British Library.  London: The British Library, 2012. 

MIR, Farina.  The social sphere of language: vernacular culture in British colonial Punjab.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 2010.

OGBORN, Miles.  Indian ink:  script and print in the making of the English East India Company.   Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2007.

ORSINI, Francesca.  Print and pleasure: popular literature and entertaining fictions in colonial North India.  Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2009.

ORSINI, Francesca (ed.)  The history of the book in South Asia.  Farnham: Ashgate, 2013.

RAMAN, Bhavani.  Document Raj: writing and scribes in early colonial South India.  Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 2012.

SHAW, Graham W.  ‘English books around the world: the East India Company and the globalization of the English book and book trade’, Gutenberg-Jahrbuch 2013, pp. 180-203.

SHAW, Graham W.  ‘South Asia’, in Simon Eliot & Jonathan Rose (eds.), A Companion to the history of the book, second edition (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2019), pp. 126-137.

STARK, Ulrike.  An empire of books: the Naval Kishore Press and the diffusion of the printed word in colonial India.  Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2007.

VENKATACHALAPATHY, A. R.  The province of the book: scholars, scribes, and scribblers in colonial Tamilnadu.  Ranikhet: Permanent Black, 2012.