â€˜Enna Prayocanam?â€™ Constructing the canon in colonial Tamilnadu
AbstractRecent studies question the definition of a literary canon as an immutable corpus of texts sharing certain assured value and properties and distinguished by the possession of intrinsic worth; they argue that like all other human artifacts, canons are not given but are the product of a specific history, and are thus historically contingent. In the Indian context there are few studies that have taken up the question of canon formation. This article seeks to redress this lacuna and explores how the Tamil literary canon came be redefined in colonial India. The conjuncture of print, the â€˜discoveryâ€™ of new texts, Orientalist scholarship and identity politics shaped the modern literary canon. While the pre-modern Tamil literary canon consisted predominantly of religious, mythological and didactic texts, the new canon was a largely secular one where the religious texts were marginalised.