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  • Nationalist Thought and the Sri Lankan World

    Garrett Field

    Chapter from the book: Field, G. 2017. Modernizing Composition: Sinhala Song, Poetry, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Sri Lanka.


    Chapter 1 unfolds in three sections. Section one explores how the songwriter John De Silva (1857–1922) and poet Ananda Rajakaruna (1885–1957) created Sinhala song and poetry in service of the Sinhalese Buddhist revival. Section one suggests that De Silva’s songs and Rajakaruna’s poetry can be considered characteristic of cultural forms created in the first stage of Partha Chatterjee’s three-stage theory of anti-colonial nationalist thought—departure, maneuver, and arrival. Section two turns to the Venerable S. Mahinda’s political poetry of the 1930s. Section two reads Mahinda’s works as examples of Chatterjee’s second stage, the moment of maneuver. Section three presents an instance of cultural production that deviates from Chatterjee’s model. Through an analysis of Sinhala gramophone songs created in the late 1930s it is asserted that Chatterjee’s three moments are not capacious enough to detect the connections between cultural nationalism and cultural commodities.

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    Field, G. 2017. Nationalist Thought and the Sri Lankan World. In: Field, G, Modernizing Composition. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.27.b

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    Published on March 22, 2017


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