Aakriti Mandhwani, "Everyday Reading: Middlebrow Magazines and Book Publishing in Post-Independence India" (U Massachusetts Press, 2024)


Everyday Reading: Middlebrow Magazines and Book Publishing in Post-Independence India (U Massachusetts Press, 2024) is a timely book on the history of print culture and the creation of publics in postcolonial South Asia. During the two difficult decades immediately following the 1947 Indian Independence, a new, commercially successful print culture emerged that articulated alternatives to dominant national narratives. Through what Aakriti Mandhwani defines as middlebrow magazines--like Delhi Press's Saritā--and the first paperbacks in Hindi--Hind Pocket Books--North Indian middle classes cultivated new reading practices that allowed them to reimagine what it meant to be a citizen. Rather than focusing on individual sacrifices and contributions to national growth, this new print culture promoted personal pleasure and other narratives that enabled readers to carve roles outside of official prescriptions of nationalism, austerity, and religion. Utilizing a wealth of previously unexamined print culture materials, as well as paying careful attention to the production of commercial publishing companies and the reception of ordinary reading practices--particularly those of women--Everyday Reading offers fresh perspectives into book history, South Asian literary studies, and South Asian gender studies.

Aakriti Mandhwani is an Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Shiv Nadar University, Delhi NCR. She is interested in book and magazine history, cultural studies, popular literature, South Asian and Hindi Literature, literary history and the history of libraries in South Asia. Her previous publications include Indian Genre Fiction: Pasts and Future Histories, edited by Bodhisattva Chattopadhyay, Aakriti Mandhwani, and Anwesha Maity and journal articles on Hindi archives, language mixing and Hindi pulp fiction.

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Syed Muhammad Khalid

Syed Muhammad Khalid is a MSc student in Modern South Asian Studies at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar

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