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Written For Ever: The Best of Civil Lines

Price : $27.00
ISBN # : 9780670083299
Author : Rukun Advani
pages: 420
Edition : Hardcover
Volumes : 1
Publisher : Penguin
Published : 2010

A new kind of Indian writing in English was in the air in the early 1990s. Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, I. Allan Sealy and Upamanyu Chatterjee had written their early books. The new current was promising, and Dharma Kumar, historian and editor of the famous Indian Economic and Social History Review, decided to publish a journal, along the lines of Granta and The New Yorker, dedicated to ferreting out the best literary talent. The journal, Civil Lines: New Writing from India, first appeared in 1994 and quickly attracted attention by publishing literary pieces that were a cut above, developing a cult following among readers of Indian writing in English. Till 2001, five issues had been published totaling sixty-one individual contributions by thirty-eight contributors. Some of the contributors were then far from well known, and Civil Lines could be said to have given them a leg-up towards subsequent fame. Sheila Dhar, Susan Visvanathan, Raj Kamal Jha, Ruchir Joshi, Siddhartha Deb, Suketu Mehta, Amitava Kumar and Manjula Padmanabhan went on to become established writers after Civil Lines had published their smaller pieces. Ramachandra Guha s first brilliant essay a five-finger exercise in literary anthropology which seems with hindsight to presage his later work on Verrier Elwin appeared in the inaugural issue. A little-known aspect of Amitav Ghosh is his interest in the short story. Ghosh contributed two pieces to the journal a reflective essay on the Indian practice of the short story and a wonderfully fluent translation of one of Tagore s most famous tales, Kshudhita Pshn (The Hunger of Stones). The present anthology comprises a selection of the finest essays, stories and poems that were published in the first five issues of Civil Lines. The original issues of the journal are difficult to come by. This anthology is a must for all those interested in the best practitioners of desi English. Book Reviews Civil Lines offered no theory, no obscurantism. It s hardly surprising that so many of the writers it launched are now literary icons. Each one of these pieces is distinct in form and subject matter. What is common to all is the sheer delight they continue to provide Girish Karnad It arrived at a time when readers hungry for contemporary Indian writing in English had almost given up hope The Statesman, 15 April 2001 Civil Lines ... has sought to showcase the best new writing from India ... the selections have reflected an openness towards creative exuberance Deccan Herald, 24 February 2002 Civil Lines assumed the challenge of assembling the best unpublished Indian writing ... [the] series editors upheld their credo to publish the famous and break new talent Biblio, March April 2001 Not a single line of dullness Sunday Herald, 1 July 2001. Author Bio: Rukun Advani is the author of Beethoven Among the Cows (1994), a novel. After a PhD in English from Trinity Hall, Cambridge, he learnt publishing from Ravi Dayal at Oxford University Press, New Delhi. He now collaborates with his wife, Anuradha Roy, in running Permanent Black, one of India s most respected academic imprints.

This book was added to South Asia bookstore on Wednesday 27 October, 2010.
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