Calcutta: A Cultural and Literary History

Krishna Dutta, Author, Anita Desai, Foreword by, Anita Desai, Introduction by Interlink Publishing Group $15 (256p) ISBN 978-1-56656-488-5
Dutta depicts Calcutta's many faces in this erudite guide to the city, which is part of the Cities of the Imagination Series. The author, who was born and raised in Calcutta and who has translated Bengali literature, divides her book into nine chapters, each one examining a different facet of the varied Indian metropolis. Her section on""Company Calcutta"" identifies Calcutta's founder, Job Charnock, and pinpoints August 24, 1690 as the""beginning of Calcutta."" She goes on, in that chapter, to discuss cultural mixing (between the colonizers and the colonized) in the 1700s. Another chapter, entitled""City of Strife,"" addresses Calcutta's longstanding image of poverty and portrays Mother Teresa as having""an uncanny understanding of the psychology of charity."" Wide-ranging if dense, Dutta's work presents an in-depth portrait of one of India's most intriguing cities. A list of suggested reading, which ranges from V. S. Naipaul to Jhumpa Lahiri, along with indexes of important Calcutta people and places add to the book's value. B&w illus., maps.
Reviewed on: 03/01/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 255 pages - 978-1-56656-721-3
Paperback - 256 pages - 978-1-904955-46-7
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