(Current fiction and quality fiction of the past.)
Occasionally the dense thicket of pop stuff dedicated to such things as vampires finds itself penetrated by a bulldozer of intellectual effort and for a brief moment readers of contemporary literature can see daylight through the hedgerows.
One such event is the latest publication of The Indian Journal of World Literature and Culture. The journal is edited from Bubhaneswar, capital of Orissa, by Dr Subhendu Mund, who teaches English for Communication at the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar. The school is a fairly new educational “work-in-progress” designed to accommodate 10,000 students in the near future on a campus approaching 1,000 acres. Mund is known for many efforts, from such poems as Night at Sea-Shore, which opens beautifully with:
Footsteps strike the dark roads of the night.
Fluttering of the nocturnal wings.
Roars of the engines.
and for his literary criticism, translations and as a lexicographer. The newest edition of the Journal has drawn praise from Christopher Rollason, Ph.D., the English-Spanish literature authority, who reports from Metz, France, that the Journal contains a special focus on the late José Saramago (Rollason). For Examiner’s view of Saramago’s “The Elephant’s Journey” click on Examiner.
Rollason notes that the texts on Saramago are by Miriam Ringel (on his novel “Manual de Pintura e Caligrafia” (Manual of Painting and Calligraphy), Bracha El Hassid-Gruner (on the various cover-designs of his “A Caverna” (The Cave) and by Rollason (reviewing Saramago’s last novel, “Caín” (Cain).
“Caín” has been described by Amazon thusly: “Cain clearly demonstrates the modern and surprising aspects of Saramago’s prose: the ability to weave a completely new tale out of a story we all know. (The story is) an ironic and satirical journey where the reader is present at a secular and in a way, involuntary battle between the creator and his creature.” — Copyright©Amazon
According to Rollason’s report, the Journal also contains articles on “Chinua Achebe” (Anthills of the Savannah) by Debaleena Dutta, “Shauna Singh Baldwin” (What the Body Remembers) by Pooja Sharma, poems by Stephanos Stephanides, and a report by Rollason on the 2010 Frankfurt Book Fair, among others.
The Journal’s editorial board includes such authorities as Robert J.C. Young (New York University), Robert Clark (University of East Anglia, UK), Amritjit Singh (Ohio University, USA), Harish Trivedi (Delhi University), M.K. Naik (Eminent scholar), Jayanta Mahapatra (Eminent Indian English poet), GJV Prasad (JNU, New Delhi), Bala Kothandaraman (Former Professor, Osmania University), Mala Pandurang (SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai), and K. Satchidanandan (Eminent poet and Former Secretary, Sahitya Akademi).
Location of the new educational institution in Bhubaneswar underscores the diversity of growth in India. An emerging IT hub, the boom in the metals and metal processing industries have made Bhubaneswar one of the fastest developing cities of India in recent years, yet the Indian Institute of Technology has attracted such literary lights as Mund and The Indian Journal of World Literature and Culture. Just a short journey inland from the northern reaches of the Bay of Bengal, Bhubaneswar is also popularly known as the “Temple City of India”. Bhubaneswar is an important Hindu pilgrimage centre. Hundreds of temples dot the landscape of the Old Town, which once boasted of more than 2,000 temples, some a thousand years older than the IT age.
As a random afterthought, for an excellent review by Rollason of Eric Hobsbawm’s “How to Change the World: Tales of Marx and Marxism” (London: Little, Brown), click on Rollason.
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