Modern Tamil Writing By Subramanian, Rajesh
Tamil literature, over the past two millennia, has been continuously evolving in its grammatical style, content, expressions, forms, structures, and themes. Modern Tamil writing can be considered to have begun in the mid-eighteenth century. Western cultural and literary theories had a significant impact on the content and form of Tamil writing during this phase. As time progressed into the nineteenth century, the western formats of novel and drama came to be adopted by literary writers. The latter decades of the twentieth century and the subsequent period witnessed a rapid explosion and growth of Tamil fiction.
From ancient times, the verse/poetry form was the most commonly used, and indeed the only form in which literary works were composed. Great and lengthy religious texts, medical treatises, poetry of love and war, astrological works, and all other works were written in verse. Tamil ‘little magazines’ played a crucial role in the development of modern Tamil poetry. The verse form of literature dictated by strict grammatical rules gave way to liberal free format based structures. Themes and language also underwent major transformation in Tamil poetry during the twentieth century.
After an initial period of experimental works, modern Tamil literature has matured since the 1970s. The role of major authors in shaping modern Tamil writing is discussed in brief.