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The Oxford India Anthology of Modern Urdu Literature

Mehr Afshan Farooqi
Oxford University Press
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This anthology encompasses both the major genres like poetry, novel, and drama, as well as minor genres like short stories, essays and sketches, letters, anecdotes, humour, and satire. The chronological listing of works by authors enables the readers to develop a sense of evolution of various genres and sub-genres across the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries while savouring this veritable feast of material. The post-Partition selection of writers includes authors from both India and Pakistan, thus giving a holistic picture of modern Urdu literature as it developed in the two countries after 1947. The first volume consists of poetry and prose miscellany. The poetry section begins with Akbar Ilahabadi and ends with Tanveer Anjum, and includes poets from all the major and minor trends that made their mark in Urdu. The rather unconventional and interesting inclusions of a selection of autobiographies and anecdotes that rarely receive the importance they deserve in canonical literature are a unique feature of the anthology. Fiction - short stories and excerpts from novels - makes up the second volume. It begins with Muhammad Hadi Ruswa (1857-1931), then features such celebrated practitioners of the genre as Premchand, Ghulam Abbas, Krishan Chander, Rajinder Singh Bedi, Intizar Husain, Qurratulain Hyder, Abdullah Hussein, Naiyer Masud, and finally ends with Syed Muhammad Ashraf.