E.M. Forster’s celebrated novel A Passage to India is prescribed in the syllabus of almost all the university in India, at both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It is really a complex and difficult novel, and book that can well help the students, in particular, in their having a grip on it are far too few, if not non-existent.p>
With a view to fill this gap and cater to the academic needs of readers, the present book has been written. Briefly outlining the life and works of E.M. Forster, it makes an in-depth study of his novel A Passage of India. The key elements of novel like plot, characterization, fantasy, prophecy, pattern, rhythm, symbols, imagery, mystery, poetry, music, tone, etc., have been analytically discussed. In addition, a character-sketch of prominent characters has been skillfully presented. Further, memorable quotations included in the Appendix will not only acquaint readers with the original text but will also infuse them with enthusiasm for all the works of Forster. Readers of the present book are provided with Bibliography and Index which will definitely prove useful study-aids to them in pursuing the Studies further. For students, researchers as well as teachers of English literature, the book is indispensable.
Sunil Kumar Sarkar, Ph.D. in English Literature and Philosophy has recently retired as Reader from Raiganj (University) College. Earlier, he served as Principal at Garbeta College, Midnapore, West Bengal. Dr. Sarkar is a well-known figure in the literary world. He has to his credit a large number of books on literature, philosophy, history and politics, of which a few deserve mention: A Companion to William Wordsworth (2 Vols.), W.B. Yeats: Poetry, S.T. Coleridge, Milton, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, and A companion to E.M.Forster (3 Vols.).
Edward Morgan Forster’s novel A Passage to India has for long been in the syllabi in almost all the universities in India; the novel’s celluloid version, superbly directed by David lean, has several times been broadcasted on the TV screens, earing for the film immense popular applauses; and to many academic savants of the literacy circles the novel has for long been a pabulum for their sharp and critical intellects. Truly, the Novel has the Propriety to be shortlisted as an essential reading. It is at once entertaining and thought-provoking, and its style is Forster’s own, unimitable. It acts upon us on two levels: on the superficial level, its story, characters, humours, imagery, dialogues, etc. keep us glued to its pages; and on the deeper level, it lands us in the terra incognita, in the deepest mystery of life, puzzled, non-puzzled.p>
To some critics, the novel is complex; to others, simplex. The critic Brenda R. Silver, for instance, thinks that A passage to India is an ‘enigmatic novel’, and Virginia Woolf, the novelist, has found Forster to be ‘the most diverting of novelists’. On the other hand, Elizabeth Bowen, herself, too, a novelist, was charmed by the ‘lucidity’ of Forster’s writing, and that in her teens, and said that since then she had been reading Forster’s novels but ‘Not a single overt hostility met the eye’. Again, some critics call A passage to India a post-Victorian, and not modern, novel, but others defiantly differ. And, once again, some commentators object to the third part of novel, saying it is an unnecessary tail-piece, awkwardly dangling loose; but others believe it to be integrant. Who are correct and who are not? And who are perceptive an who are muddled? Such of the big questions about the novel that raise interestingly hot debates, an demand, at the least, working solutions. This book may show a reflection of all these and many things more. However, above all, A Passage of India is a book that can well tell us what a novel precisely is, or, better, what a novel should be like.
There are dozens of critical books on A Passage to India, but, then, why this one more? Two reasons: one, no one book is like another, and different books may better clarify things; and two, this book, like only a few or no others, has been written constantly keeping in mind the difficulties of the students in understanding a novel, particularly a complex novel like A Passage to India, and also their difficulties in preparing themselves for answering some very common questions about the novel, as may be evident from the ‘Contents’ of this book. In fine, this book is meant exclusively for undergraduate and postgraduate.
My wife, Smt Manju Sarker, very painstakingly but beautifully typed the whole manuscript of this book, and so I affectionately thank her. My two sons, Dr Suman Sarkar and Dr Sutanu Sarkar, always inspired me while I was preparing the manuscript. So I extend my affectionate thanks also to them. It was at the suggestion of my friends, Dr K.R. Gupta, Chairman, Atlantic Publishers & Distributors (P) Ltd., New Delhi that I decided to write this book, which he has promptly published in a presentable shape. Therefore, Dr Gupta certainly deserves my gratitude.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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