Saratchandra Chattopadhyay is widely acknowledged as
one of the greatest Indian novelists of the twentieth century. His novesl,
serialized in periodieals and subsequently published in book form, earned
Saratchandra immense fame in the early decades of the century, and the
established him as Bengal's master storyteller. Even today, seven decades after
his death. Saratchandra remains one of the most popular novelists in Bengal, and
is widely read in translation across India as well.
This collector's edition
of Saratchandra's works in English translation brings together the writer's most
renowned and best-loved novels in two omnibus volumes. The first volume features
five novels: Srikanta, Devdas, Parineeta, Palli Samaj and Nishkriti.
Srikanta is the story of a wanderer who observes the people around him;
through them-especially the women he loves and respects, from the sacrificing
Annada Didi and the rebellious Abhaya to the housewife Rajlakshmi and the
courtesan Pyari Bai-he tries to arrive at an understanding of life. Devdas,
on the other hand, is the tragic tale of a man who drives himself to drink and
debilitation when he is unable to marry his childhood sweetheart Paro. In Parineeta
(Expoused), the orphaned Lalita is secretly in love with her guardian
Shekhar, but circumstances conspire to drive the two apart. Palli Samaj (The
Village Life) has Ramesh, an engineer, returning to the village of his birth to
try and rid it of the backwardness that plagues it, even as he tries to revive
his childhood ties with Rama, now a widow. In Nishkriti (Deliverance),
the strong-willed Shailaja, the youngest daughter-in-law in a joint family, is
made an outcast as a result of a misunderstanding; much later, her elders
realize their mistake, just in time to save the family from
Each of the novels showcase the qualities Saratchandra is
famous for: everyday stories told in a simple yet gripping style, strong
character, meticulous plotting, true-to-life dialogue, and unforgettable
depictions of life in turn-of-the-century Bengal. Translated especially for
Penguin, these classic novels will delight those new to Saratchandra's works as
well as those who want to return to them again.
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay was
born on 15 September 1876 in Devanandapur, a village in West Bengal. He grew up
in dire poverty and received very little formal education. After spending some
of his youth in Bhagalpur and Muzaffarpur, Saratchandra left for Burma in 1903,
and it was from Burma that he began to send his stories and novels to magazines
in Kolkata. Sensitive and daring, Saratchanra's writing captivated the hearts
and minds of readers, and he soon became Bengal's most popular novelist.
Saratchandra returned to Kolkata in 1916, and dedicated himself to writing. He
was India's first successful professional writer-a person who earned his entire
livelihood only from writing. He died in 1938.
Saratchandra remains one of
the best-loved Indian novelists of all time; his work have been translated into
various languages and made into films as well. Among his best-known novels are Srikanta,
Devdas, Palli Samaj (The Village Life), Parineeta (Espoused), Charitraheen
(The Immoralist), Grihadaha (House of Embers) and Pather Dabi (The
Call of the Road).
About the Translators:
Aruna Chakravarti is
Principal of Janki Devi Memorial College, Delhi. Her translation of Srikanta fetched
her the Sahitya Akademi Award. She has also translated Sunil Gangopadhyay's Sei
Somoy (Those Days) and Prothom Alo (First Light) for Penguin. Her
novel The Inheritors was published by Penguin in 2004.
has translated the writings of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay, Rabindranath Tagore,
Saradindu Bandyopadhyay and Taslima Nasrin for Penguin. He best-selling
translation of Devdas was published by Penguin in 2002.
Chaudhuri runs Mono Translation Bureau, a multi-lingual translation agency
in Kolkata. Her translation of Parineeta was published by Penguin in
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