The University of Iowa

Autobiography is Another Story: “Lives” in Hindi

April 6th, 2012

Join the South Asian Studies Program in welcoming Professor Rupert Snell (University of Texas at Austin) for the following talk:

Autobiography is Another Story: “Lives” in Hindi

Thursday, March 29, at 4 p.m.
1117 University Capitol Centre
Free and open to the public

Abstract: Hindi has a rich tradition of writing about the self – both in formal autobiography (atmakatha, ap-biti) and in more casual contexts and genres. This talk discusses a dozen works, ranging from self-consciously literary texts to the transcribed memoirs of a provincial station-master. Themes such as family life and childhood memories illuminate these narratives, while darker moments include jail writings by the sometime prime minister Chandrashekhar (imprisoned and released by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency of the 1970s) and by Ramprasad Bismil (imprisoned and executed by the British a half-century earlier). My spotlight is on the stylistics of the narratives: how do the various authors crystalize their sweet and bitter experiences into words and bring them to the printed page?

For more information, contact Heidi Vekemans at or 319-335-3862.