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The Last Hindu Emperor


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Table of Contents

1. Introduction: layers of memory; 2. Literary trajectories of the historic king; 3. Delhi in the making of the last Hindu emperor; 4. The heroic vision of a regional elite; 5. Imagining the Rajput past in Mughal-era Mewar; 6. Validating Prithviraj Raso in colonial India, 1820s-70s; 7. Contested meanings in a nationalist age, 1880s-1940s; 8. Epilogue: the postcolonial Prithviraj; Bibliography; Index.

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This book traces the genealogy and historical memory of the twelfth-century ruler Prithviraj Chauhan, remembered as the 'last Hindu Emperor of India'.

About the Author

Cynthia Talbot is Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. She is author of Precolonial India in Practice: Society, Region, and Identity in Medieval Andhra (2001), co-author (with Catherine B. Asher) of India before Europe (with Catherine B. Asher, Cambridge, 2006), and editor of Knowing India: Colonial and Modern Constructions of the Past (2011). Her scholarship has been supported by numerous organizations including the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Institute for Advanced Study, the American Philosophical Society, and the American Institute of Indian Studies.


'While Talbot's archive is almost entirely restricted to the written word, she executes a sensitive reading that allows her to furnish a nuanced picture of the communities that wrote and read such works. Especially rich is Talbot's description of the Rajput elites for whom the Raso was a central text beginning in the late sixteenth century.' Audrey Truschke, H-Asia
'... Cynthia Talbot seeks to excavate the layers of memory sedimented around the celebrated Indian king Prithviraj Chauhan (1166-1192). ... Talbot's book ... highlights the continued relevance of medieval history in the politics of the past.' Daud Ali, American Historical Review
'This lucidly written and clearly argued monograph traces the narrative career of Prithviraj Chauhan, the ruler of Ajmer (southwest of Delhi) in the twelfth century, who was defeated by the Turkic ruler from Ghur, Shihab al-Din, in 1192 CE. ... this monograph would be a wonderful resource in courses on historical method - on reading of different genres of historical evidence - as well as in comparative courses on history and memory, and in courses on history and memory in colonial and postcolonial worlds.' Ramya Sreenivasan, The Journal of Asian Studies

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