Anyone who has a keen interest in Indian literature knows that getting information on the great Bankim Chandra Chatterjee—the first Indian author to write a novel in English—has always been difficult. A rare collection of writings by the maestro himself, scattered across different periodicals and magazines, Essays and Letters is nothing less than a treasure trove. From the dilemma of western and eastern dichotomy to the in-depth study of Hindu philosophy, the book takes on diverse themes of pre-independent India. Replete with essays that talk about his views on Bengali literature, religion and philosophy, letters written during the famous Hastie controversy and on Hinduism, this book promises to be an invaluable addition to your book shelf. Though the language is archaic, it surpasses time in its structure and still enjoys its relevance in modern times.
A literary pioneer and nationalist, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee is one of the most celebrated writers of India. Born on 27 June 1838, he was the author of the first Indian English novel, Rajmohan's Wife. He always wrote on social and political issues that were plaguing the country. He was also honoured with the title of 'Ray Bahadur' by the British in 1892. His other works include novels like Kapalkundala, Mrinalini, Devi Chaudhurani and the most famous of all – Anand Math, which gave India its national song – 'Vande Mataram'.
This is a collection of Bankim's miscellaneous writings in English. These comprise papers read by him before learned societies, articles published in magazines, letters written in a controversy on the Hindu religion, a translation of several chapters of his novel Devi Chaudhurani, and some private letters of more than passing interest. All of these had been previously published but lay scattered in several periodicals and volumes, and information about each of them has been here appended to satisfy the curiosity of the reader. The editors here take the opportunity to thank their friends who have helped them in their task, and in particular Dr Nihar Ranjan Ray, Mr Jitendra Nath Bose and Mr Jogesh Chandra Bagal, without whose co-operation some of the most important matters printed in this volume would have been inaccessible to them.
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