Allison Busch
a complete bibliography and repository

Welcome to the complete bibliographic index and digital repository for Allison Busch.

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About Allison Busch

Allison Busch (1969–2019) was Associate Professor of Hindi Literature in the Department of Middle Eastern South Asian, and African Studies at Columbia University. She received her B.A. from University of British Columbia in 1992. She received her Ph.D. in Hindi literature from the University of Chicago in 2003. From 2001 to 2005, she taught at University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. In 2005, she joined Columbia as an Assistant Professor in Hindi and she was promoted to Associate Professor in 2011.

Through her groundbreaking work on classical Hindi literature, she awoke a fresh appreciation for aesthetic experiences that had long been devalued. She shared her superb knowledge of the history and politics, as well as the music, wit, beauty and pathos of classical Hindi literature in her lectures and in numerous publications. Her Poetry of Kings (Oxford University Press 2011) drew on a wide array of known, as well as unpublished, manuscripts and commentaries to show us how the incredibly rich courtly style of Hindi literature sustained traditional Indian political and aesthetic ideals in the Mughal and Rajput worlds of the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries. Her articles were immensely influential: her 2010 “Hidden in Plain View: Brajbhasha Poets at the Mughal Court” and her 2009 “Braj Beyond Braj: Classical Hindi in the Mughal World,” re-shaped the scholarly conversation about early modern literary cultures. Professor Busch’s widely admired translations of classical Hindi verses, which are devilish to translate because of their multiple meanings and subtle formal play, enable us for the first time to taste, in English, poetry that had been lost to us for centuries. In the scholarly world of classical Hindi poetry, she had acquired a legendary status among senior and emerging scholars, who looked to her for always learning something new about the art of translating and reciting verse and song.

As of Fall 2019, she was completing two book manuscripts each about a different mood of Hindi poetry, one a study of Rajput martial poetry and the other, co-authored with Molly Aitken, a monograph about Indian love and the ideal Hindu heroine among Mughal connoisseurs. The latter studies the powerful effects made possible when poetry and painting come together. Professor Busch was also working on several new translations, including a translation of Keshavdas’s 1591 Rasikapriya.

A picture of Allison Busch. Photo: Columbia University

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