November 12, 2020 7:00:34 pm
Essays by renowned Indian writers, including Amitav Ghosh, Ramachandra Guha and Sunil Khilnani are part of a new anthology titled, The Book of Indian Essays. The collection has been edited by poet and literary critic Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, and is published by Black Kite, an imprint of Permanent Black, and distributed by publishing house Hachette India.
“Indians have been writing prose for 200 years and yet when we think of literary prose we think of the novel. The ‘essay’ brings only the school essay to mind. Those of us who read and write English in India would find it hard to name an essay even by someone like RK Narayan as easily as we would one of his novels, say Swami and Friends or The Guide. Our inability to recall essays is largely due to the strange paradox that while the form itself remains invisible it is everywhere present… The anthology is an attempt at making what has always been present also permanently visible,” Mehrotra told PTI.
The book claims to be versatile in the kind of essays it features the “reflective essay, luminous memoir, the essay disguised as a story, the memorable prefatory article, the newspaper column that transcends its humdrum origins, the gossip piece that oozes literariness, the forgotten flower in the long-dead magazine, the satirical putdown”.
The contributors in the anthology that begins with the work of noted Indian poet Henry Louis Vivian Derozio, are some of India’s finest writers like Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru, acclaimed writer Santha Rama Rau, beloved children’s writer Ruskin Bond, among others.
“The essays amuse, surprise, edify. The feelings and ideas in them provoke thought, compassion, and a sense of the wonder that was India,” said Hachette in a statement. Other essay collections by Mehrotra include, Partial Recall and Translating the Indian Past. The Book of Indian Essays is currently available for sale on offline and online stores.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.