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A History of Malayalam Literature (An Old and Rare Book)

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Item Code: XAW091
Author: krishna Chaitanya
Publisher: Orient Longman Pvt. Ltd.
Language: English
Edition: 1995
Pages: 608
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 690 gm
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Book Description
Back of The Book
Written primarily for a national and international readership, this book provides the complete social, political and economic background for understanding the emergence and evolution of every literary movement in Kerala since the earliest times to the present day. Clarifying the literary analysis and gaining for the book the additional status of an anthology are the numerous English renderings of some of the best prose and poetry of this tradition. The treatment of the modern period is very detailed and accounts for more than half of the volume. The confrontation between the activism of ideology and the autonomy of art has nowhere else been so turbulent as in modern Kerala and both the conflict and its resolution,excitingly narrated here are bound to stimulate global interest.

About the Author
Krishna Chaitanya (b 1918 and d 1994) graduated from the Madras University obtaining the first rank both in B.A. (1937) and M.A (1939) A distinguished literary, art and music critic, he was the Honorary Secretary of the All India Fine Arts & Crafts Society editor of Roopa-Lekha, India's oldest extant art journal,author of Ravi Varma and Thakur Singh (monographs on Indian painters.,

Shakuntala Damayanti, Vasavadatta and Malati and Madhav (classics retold for children); and a serial history of world literature, of which seven volumes appeared in English and in five Indian languages This last project earned for him an invitation from the Institute of International Education New York to tour the USA for six months as a "Critic of Ideas" and a Special Award from the Kerala Sahitya Academy.

Many of us know of, or at least can pretend to be knowledgeable about, the great literary figures who moulded the sensibility of various foreign nationalities of past and present epochs Homer. Shakespeare, Goethe, Dante, TS Eliot, Sartre. But most of us are abysmally ignorant of similar figures of the linguistic regions of India other than our own.

Institutional arrangements have indeed been in existence for some years now to do something about this deplorable state of affairs. But not all would agree that the experience has been happy. Pressures are inevitable in institutional arrangements and these distort inter- regional communication in various ways. The choice of people selected for the work is often not happy, their appraisal of literary personalities, especially of the contemporary period, is unduly cau tious. The result is a safe, non-committal type of evaluation where every writer emerges as about as good or bad as any other writer.

It should be clear to the readers by now that the present writer, even if not disgruntled, is far from being gruntled. In fact, this work is that of an irritated middle-aged man, if not of an angry young man. The author felt that the material available in English on the history of Malayalam literature is so seriously inadequate as to be almost libellous about a tradition which has some positive claims to global notice, even if it has not been free, as no tradition has been. free, from indifferent and bad writing.

The book has been brought up to date to the first half of 1970. There is no work, even in Malayalam, where the coverage is complete to this extent.

Malayali personal names can be flamboyantly long. I have used the shortest versions (which is the practice in the language too) so that the reader's memory should not be burdened with unessentials, Translations of illustrative passages of both prose and poetry have been woven into the critical narrative of the text. No one realises their inadequacy more keenly than the author, but he has tried his best within the limits of his talents. Originals of these passages have been given in an anthology at the end of the text. This should be useful not only to Malayalis, but also to the students of the language in foreign countries, whose number is slowly, though steadily, increasing.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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