January 20, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

How young India reads: A survey

1 min read

Readers of English in India are now passing through what older book-reading markets such as Britain’s went through earlier. As Abhijit Gupta, associate professor of English at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, points out in his essay ‘Popular Writing in India’ in the Cambridge History of Postcolonial Studies: “[‘Non-literary’ fiction arose in Britain] in the latter half of the 19th century, primarily in response to the unprecedented boom in the periodicals market and a sharp rise in literacy following legislation which made primary education compulsory… The expanded market also meant that the reading public would become less and less homogeneous, with writers and critics periodically invoking an entity called the ‘unknown public’ living in urban working-class areas and comprising a vast new army of readers, hungry for reading matter which was cheap and easily accessible.”

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