Shah, Hasan. The Dancing Girl. Translated by Qurratulain Hyder. New Directions, 1993.

Google Books Description

Written in 1790, Hasan Shah’s autobiographical romance, The Dancing Girl, is remarkable for both its lyrical prose and its fine recreation of a time, a place, and a culture – India in the 1780s, a tolerant, affable era before the full establishment of British colonial rule. The Dancing Girl tells of the doomed love of Hasan Shah (aide-de-camp to a British officer) and Khanum Jan (a courageous and gifted dancer of the courtesan caste) whose secret marriage could not prevent their separation. At Khanum Jan’s death, her grief-stricken husband turned his raw emotion into a surprisingly modern, first-person narrative “without realizing,” as leading Urdu novelist Qurratulain Hyder observes in the foreword to her translation (from the 1893 Urdu translation of the original Persian), “that he had become a pioneer of the modern Indian novel.”

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