[ilds] ILDS Digest, Vol 5, Issue 4

Sumantra Nag sumantranag at gmail.com
Wed Aug 8 02:22:55 PDT 2007


I found the discussion on this issue fascinating, and have reproduced below, 
a few scattered lines from them for reference!

1. During the 1960s, the Alexandria Quartet and also the books of the Beat 
Generation created genuine interest among us - I mean students in Delhi 
University, and perhaps in St. Stephen's College in particular - when I was 
a student there. It was not so much a case of wanting to be seen reading 
these books. Some of my contemporaries were perhaps more influenced by the 
Beat writers than by Durrell. I believe Ginsberg visited Delhi then - it 
made no great furore but one person I knew, went and visited him at the 
Birla Mandir, a prominent Indian temple in Delhi with modest residential 
accommodation. I remember the  poem "Howl" as a memorable experience of Beat 
writing at that time.

2. I can also see what Hari Kunzru is trying to say. A journey no longer has 
the kind of personal significance for the spirit that it once had. My wife 
and I both returned to Europe after many years, in 2005 and again in 2007 (a 
few months ago) on holidays: we witnessed, and happily enjoyed, the well 
laid out tourism facilities in Europe.

3. Oram Pamuk's "huzuun", a special form of communal melanchloy seen by him 
as a pervasive underlying mood in Istanbul in his book on the city 
("Istanbul: Memories of a City") may not be as pervasive now as it may have 
been a few decades ago. Dereliction - the constant sight for Pamuk - is not 
what greets your eyes during a cruise on the Bosphorus today - the "Yalis" 
or houses on the shores of the Bosphorus are more remarkable for their 
gleaming exteriors!

Travelling has become easy and pleasureable and more affordable for 
thousands of people, and history and the arts need not be excluded from 
these travels except through choice! This is what is derided as "mass 
tourism" I suppose, but.... these are the features of the contemporary world 
which fix the books of the 1960s: books which captivated us - and will hold 
us because we read them at an impressionable age - but cannot have the same 
gripping hold on the present generation of readers, young or old.

Sumantra

......................................................................................................................
 I think that both 1957 novels--/On the Road/ and /Justine/--once
were seen by their readers as signs of special membership.  (Signifying
the Cabal?)  /Is the "cultic" aspect of these books also a drawback/?
.....................
Even at university, I think, the iPods &c. have replaced
 the Significant Well-Thumbed Paper-Back.  Times change.

Charles
..........................
Atmosphere and historical place so indelible as to become like a
film score of a certain time and place in life.  The very titles have
 come associative, perfume-like.
..................................
Hari Kunzru: '.....The great adventure that was travelling overland in the 
Sixties and Seventies has become a middle-class ritual. The notion that you 
would throw yourself at the mercy of the road, and by doing so, gain some 
self-knowledge or even maturity, is long gone.'




More information about the ILDS mailing list