New Publication by Dr. K. D. Verma
UNDERSTANDING MULK RAJ ANAND: HIS MIND AND ART, a collection of critical essays and letters, examines Anand as a novelist, an art critic and a thinker in a broad cultural context of the 20th century critical theories of postmodernism, postcoloniality and new historicism. This study explores the significance of Anand’s 20-year stay in England, especially the making of Anand the novelist, and also of Anand of the post-1945 era. Anand had gone to England for a Ph. D. in philosophy at the University of London, but he stayed in England for twenty years. While in England, he worked for T. S. Eliot and came into close contact with Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Anand was also a good friend of most of the English writers of the twenties and the thirties. As an author of Untouchable, Coolie and several other novels, Anand returned from England as a well-established revolutionary novelist, but his literary and cultural achievements in the post-independence India are no less rewarding. His work on the autobiographical-sociohistorical Seven Ages series is indeed a remarkable achievement, but Anand’s contribution in other allied areas of Indian and Western aesthetics—Anand’s work as a founding editor of Marg, as an art critic and an essayist—is equally significant. Interestingly, Anand’s first novel Untouchable, primarily written in England but finalized under Gandhi’s guidance in India, has a Preface by E. M. Forster. The novel Coolie is said to have been conceived as a response to Kipling’s Kim. Undoubtedly, Anand’s Across the Black Waters of the Lalu Trilogy is the only World War 1 novel written by an Indian. While the first section of Understanding Mulk Raj Anand has six critical essays and an interview with Anand, Section Two has forty-three letters that Anand wrote to the author. These letters reveal Anand’s most powerful and original ideas about Anand the man, the critic and the thinker. As an avid proponent of liberty, equality, social justice, the human values and the truth of the human condition, Anand vehemently and uncompromisingly fought against European / British imperialism and colonialism. Anand firmly believed that India, a rural colony of the British Empire, was not developed.
Dr. K. D. Verma
A scholar of English Romanticism and South Asian Literature, K. D. Verma is Professor Emeritus of English, University of Pittsburgh-Johnstown. Amongst his publications are The Vision of “Love’s Rare Universe”: A Study of Shelley’s Epipsychidion (1995), The Indian Imagination: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English (2000) and numerous articles. He was Editor of the South Asian Review, the refereed journal of the South Asian Literary Association, for thirteen years. He guestedited a special number of the Journal of South Asian Literature devoted to Aurobindo Ghosh.