This book traces the origin and growth of Kamala Das as a poet through successive stages.
Mrs. Das, who received no formal education, no pompous University degree, stands on her own merit and is placed on the pinnacle of reputation and distinction among Indo-English poets of today. Her scintillating verse has that irresistible force and tilting rhythm in it which captures the reader s attention immediately. The reader often feels that he is in the presence of a writer who is highly gifted and skilful, largely emotional and subjective, and who is ever celebrating the charms of the body and the hungers of the sex, without getting him bored even for a while. The poetess admirably comes through the dictum of William Wordsworth when he pronounced that poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.
The present book endeavours to combine biography and criticism and makes a critical-analytical study of Mrs. Das s verse to date. It is not so much a chronological survey of her literary output as an investigation into the aspects of her poetry. There are already books, articles and reviews on Kamala Das, but this one is unique in evaluating her poetic worth in the light of her work and in ascertaining her position amongst contemporary Indo-English poets. This may well claim to be the first of its kind in making a pointed approach to diverse subjects of her verse, to her being a confessional poet, to her conspicuous tragic vision of art, and in critically examining some of her significant poems and in undertaking an appraisal of her novel, Alphabet of Lust (1976), and of her prose works. It is, thus, designed for the benefit of the teachers of English literature and the taught alike.
1. Kamala Das : A Biographical Sketch
2. The Body of Das's Poety
(i) Summer in Calcutta (1965)
(ii) The Descendants (1967)
(iii) The Old Playhouse and Other Poems (1973)
3. Main Themes of Das's Poetry
4. As a Poet of Love and Sex
5. As a 'Confessional' Poet
6. Diction and Versification
7. Imagery and Symbolism
8. Tragic Vision
9. Some Gems of Das's Poetry
(a) The Freaks
(b) My Grandmother's House
(c) A Hot Noon in Malabar
(d) The Sunshine Cat
(e) The Invitation
(f) The Looking Glass
(g) The Old Playhouse
(h) An Introduction
10. Conclusion : As a Poetic Artist
Appendix A : Alphabet of Lust (1976)
An Appraisal Appendix B : The Other Harmony :
Kamala Das's Prose
About the Author(s)
A.N. Dwivedi (b. 1943) is a Professor of English at the University of Allahabad, Allahabad (U.P.). During his University days, Dr. Dwivedi was a recipient of the State Bursary for four years.
Dr. Dwivedi has published about a dozen books of literary criticism, including two on T.S. Eliot, and about seventy research papers and articles in various journals and periodicals of the country and aborad, such an Indian Literature, Commonwealth, Quartely, Language Forum, Creative Forum, IJAS, WLWE (U.S.A.), JSAL (U.S.A.), Explicator (U.S.A.), WLT (U.S.A.) and Reviews Journal (Australia). He has also contributed about half a dozen poems in translation (from Hindi into English) to Voices of Emergency edited by Prof. John O. Perry and published simultaneously from India and America. Dr. Dwivedi is listed in the International Who s who (in Men of Achievement , Register of Intellectuals , etc.) of Cambridge, U.K., in the Book of Honor published by the A.B.I., Inc., of Raleigh North Carolina, U.S.A., and in the International Who s Who of Contemporary Achievement of Cambridgeshire, England. He has participated in a number of national seminars and conferences, and has delivered talks and recited his poems in English over the A.I.R. He is on the board of advisors for the literary journals, Canopy, The Vedic Path, and the Quest.