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'Premchand can be humorous and ironic, sombre and heart-rending in his depiction of the multifarious realities of his time without yielding up the thread of social comment that runs...through almost all the stories...The stories in this selection are...each...a delight and a revelation.'--Indian Review of Books 'This collection reminds us that...Premchand was...pioneering in his efforts at a realistic appraisal of Indian family life and its pivot, the woman as mother or wife.' -- Deccan Chronicle
'The translations are done with commendable skill.' --Manoj Das, The Hindu Premchand is one of the most outstanding figures in twentieth-century Hindi literature. His novels and short stories dealing with the lives of everyday heroes have attained the status of classics. His work continues to be rediscovered and to captivate new generations of readers in India and abroad. The inhumanity of caste hierarchies and the plight of women stirred his indignation and r em ained constant themes through his work.
This omnibus brings together a range of his short stories, a genre he pioneered in Hindi literature, and two of his women-centric novels. Also included is an essay by Premchand on the aim of literature, translated especially for this volume. Francesca Orsini introduces readers to these works in an essay describing Premchand's impressive craft of reworking contemporary debates in fictional form.
The stories in The World of Premchand, translated by David Rubin, are characterized by compassion for the poor and outrage at the cruelty of the privileged class es. There are vivid and dramatic portrayls of tradition-bound villages and towns, the turmoil of the Independence movement, and the violent clash of new and old ideas. In Widows, Wives and Other Heroines, Premchand focuses on the position and role of women, as well as on other socially relevant issues such as middle-class values and aspirations, poverty and the clash between d emocr atic stirrings and a strongly hierarchical society.
The novel Nirmala, translated by Alok Rai, is a classic text of the woman as victim. Nirmala's father is unable to pay dowry and therefore marries her to an elderly lawyer with three sons. It was originally serialized in a women's journal and was a huge success in its time, being perceived as a progressive indictment of a corrupt patriarchal society. Gaban, translated by Christopher R King, tells the story of a woman's excessive love for jewellery and a series of tragic events that unfold as an outcome of her obsession. The novel showcases Pre mchand's deeply-held views on the ills of his own Kayasth community.
The Oxford India Premchand is a delightful book for avid readers of Premchand and for enthusiasts of Indian literature and culture.
Readership: General readers, scholars of and those interested in Indian/Hindi literature in translation or otherwise.
Introduction by Francesca Orisini
Part I: Short Stories
Introduction to the World of Premchand
Introduction to Widows, Wives and Other Heroines
The Village: The Road to Salvation, A Feast for the Holy Man, The Power of a Curse, A Catastrophe, January Night, Neyur, The Story of Two Bullocks, Ramlila, The Thakur's Well, A Desperate Case
The Town: A Day in the Life of a Debt-Collector, A Car-Splashing, From Both Sides, A Moral Victory, Man's Highest Duty, A Lesson in the Holy Life, A Little Trick, Penalty, The Writer, A Coward
The World: A Servant of the Nation, The Chess Players, The Road to Hell, Miss Padma, My Big Brother, Intoxication, The Price of Milk, The Shroud, Deliverance, Two Autobiographical Sketches
Notes to the Stories
Widow, Wives and Other Heroines: Widows with Sons, The Secret, Second Marriage, Wife into Husband, Disaffection, The Prostitute, The Funeral Feast, Desire, The Actress, Sacrifice, Light, Divided Hearths
Part II: Novels: Nirmala, Gaban
Appendix: The A
im of Literature by Francesca Orsini
Publication date: January 2004
OUP India 1000 pages