Renaissance man


My Country! In the days of Glory Past
A beauteous halo circled round thy brow
And worshipped as deity thou wast,
Where is that Glory, where is that reverence now?

Lines that could be written today, this verse is from "To my Native Land" by Henry Derozio (1809-31), the first "Indian" poet. Highly influential in his tragically short life, Derozio taught at Hindu College, Kolkata. In life that seems to have been lived in a fast-forward mode, Derozio managed by the age of 14 to quit formal school, start writing poetry, and at the age of 18 to apply for and get a teaching position, and by the age of 21 to rouse enough passion in his colleagues that he was expelled from the faculty, having started many future Brahmo-Samaj members on their free-thinking course... And by the age of 22 he was dead of cholera.

Oxford University Press publish Rosinka Chaudhuri's Derozio, Poet of India. The Definitive Edition, that deals with on the life and poetry of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. The book "brings together all of Derozio’s poems, along with their notes, as well as all available prose, correspondence, and journalism. This definitive edition comprises not just the two volumes of poetry that appeared when Derozio was alive— Poems and The Fakeer of Jungheera—but a substantial number of new poems, essays, reflections, letters, notices, reviews, and responses to Derozio’s poems published in newspapers and periodicals during his lifetime as well as posthumously.

This wealth of original material is supported by an important introduction by Rosinka Chaudhuri that places Derozio at the conceptual beginnings of a nation that had begun to be conjured into existence through metaphor and image, rhetoric and philosophy, poetic practice and political activism. The result is a ground-breaking study of a young man at a historical juncture of great inspiration and promise, who not only propelled a section of the Bengali elite into revolutionary reformism, as is well known, but who also embodied, in his writing and philosophy, the birth of the Indian modern."

Rs 795. Hardcover, 752 pages, ISBN: 9780195669091

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