Indian Ode to the West Wind: Studies in Literary Encounters
By  Sisir Kumar Das

Steering clear of the limiting and self-gratifying ‘influence studies’ in literature which Rene Wellek dismissed as ‘cultural book-keeping’ about the influencing and influenced nations, this study makes for a wide-ranging exploration of different literatures and literary texts in terms of their affinities and diversities, ambivalences and appropriations, as also their cross-cultural, socio-political and historical positionings and transactions. The probe, invariably jargon-free and stimulating, covers a variety of literary genres such as the epic, forms of poetry, drama, novel, short story, travelogues, memoirs, the popular literature and the oral traditions, as well as a host of major writers from the classical Sanskrit, Tamil and Greek literatures to their modern Indian and Western counterparts. The book embodies an absorbing and highly discerning account of the complex and mutually enriching literary encounters and relationships, especially during the last two centuries, between the Indian writers and those of the rest of the world.

Sisir Kumar Das , until recently Tagore Professor at the Department of Modern Indian Languages and Literary Studies in the University of Delhi, is a poet, playwright and literary critic of distinction. He is the author of the two-volume study, A History of Indian Literature; the first volume covering 1800-1910 is subtitled Western Impact: Indian Response (1991), the second covering 1911-1956 on Struggle for Freedom: Triumph and Tragedy (1995). His other books include The Mad Lover: Essays on Medieval Religious Poetry (1984) and Sahibs and Munshis: A History of the College of Fort William (1976). He has authored many well-known plays in Bengali: Socrateser Jamanbandi, Adim Andhakar, Akbar Birbal, Sinduk and Bagh (which has been translated into Hindi and Assamese); and his poetry collections include Abalupta Chaturtha-charan and Bajpakhir Sange Kichhukhan. He has also edited the English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore in three volumes, and translated the poetry of Ai Qing as also a selection of Greek plays and lyrics. Professor Das has won many Awards and Prizes. These include the Nehru Award of the Federal Republic of Germany (1969), the Tagore Award in 1976 and again in 1987 (the first ever scholar who won this Award twice), and the Kamal Kumari Foundation Award (1995). Currently he is engaged in writing a two-volume study entitled History of Medieval Indian Literature.

ISBN 81-85753-48-2           2001           248 pp           Rs.400 (hb)
A large and stimulating window to the complex and mutually enriching world literatures.
Indian Literature