The Impact of the Partition on Amrita Pritam and her Writing

amrita pritam, indian memoirist and poet

In 2021, The Union Government of India designated Partition Horrors Remembrance Day to be commemorated yearly on August 14. This is a fitting occasion to consider the impact of the India-Pakistan Partition of 1947 on the writings of litterateur/journalist Amrita Pritam, who lived through this horrific time.

For those of us who were born in independent India, there is not much recollection of what happened then, as perhaps our elders were trying to shield us from the sorrows of those times.

It is only through reading books like Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre’s Freedom at Midnight and Amrita Pritam’s works in translation, including her autobiography, The Revenue Stamp that brought alive that terrible time. Read More→

The Early Poetry of Gabriela Mistral (Lucila Godoy Alcayaga)

Gabriela Mistral,1923

Born in poverty, Lucila Godoy Alcayaga could never have predicted the lofty global reputation she would achieve as the Nobel Prize-winning poet Gabriela Mistral (1889–1957). Presented here are several of Gabriela Mistral’s early poems that appeared in regional Chilean publications, primarily from 1905 and 1908, when she was in her teens.

Though there was a gap in her published poetry from 1906 to 1907, she continued to write, contributing prose pieces to local publications, particularly La Serena.

These poems presented here in are in Spanish only, as it’s unclear whether they have ever been professionally translated into English or other languages until now. Perhaps someone will discover them and undertake this worthy task.

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Brigid Brophy, British Novelist, Essayist, & Activist

Brigid Brophy

 Brigid Brophy (June 12, 1929 – August 7, 1995) was a British novelist, cultural commentator, and essayist. She was also a keen activist for animal rights and a leading campaigner for social issues including LGBT rights, prison reform, divorce reform, and equity for authors.

She was the prolific author of novels and nonfiction works, including essays and commentary, many of which espoused her social stances. Her activism has had a lasting impact, and her books are still being read and studied.

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The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems by Edna St. Vincent Millay (1922)-full text

The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems by Edna St Vincent Millay

1923 was a banner year for Edna St. Vincent Millay. She won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry for her fourth volume of poems, The Harp-Weaver and Other Poems (published in 1922).

She was only the second person to receive a Pulitzer for poetry, and the first woman to win the prize. Following is the full text of this collection.

That year, Vincent also embarked on an unconventional marriage with Eugen Jan Boissevain. The handsome Dutch importer was a kindhearted man twelve years her senior, and she married him when, as her erstwhile lover Edmund Wilson saw it, “she was tired of breaking hearts and spreading havoc.” Read More→

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Though Frances Hodgson Burnett (1849 – 1924) wrote more than forty novels, The Secret Garden (1911) remains one of her most enduring works, along with A Little Princess (1905).

Burnett was a poet and playwright in addition to her prolific output of novels and short stories for adults and children. Quite successful professionally, she had a difficult, sometimes tragic life.

The Secret Garden was published in 1911 after an original version was first serialized in The American Magazine in 1910. The story follows the journey of Mary Lennox, a sickly and unloved ten-year-old girl born to wealthy British parents in India. Read More→

On Rereading A Wrinkle in Time: A Fifty-Year View

A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle

I gave myself the best holiday present ever: rereading A Wrinkle in Time by our new Christmas tree. Rereading Madeleine L’Engle’s masterpiece was like visiting my oldest and dearest friend. 

A Wrinkle in Time is the book that ignited my reading obsession more than fifty years ago, and for that, I’m forever grateful.

I first experienced A Wrinkle in Time as it was read aloud by my fourth-grade teacher, Ms. Lloyd, at Overland Avenue elementary school. The book had received the Newbery Medal a few years earlier and captured the attention of thousands of elementary school librarians and teachers. Read More→

The Life and Letters of Madame de Sévigné

madame de Sevigne at Carnavalet

Who was Madame de Sévigné (1626 – 1696) and why are we still reading her collected letters more than three hundred years later? She lived in complicated times— during the reign of Louis XIV — and she was a gifted chronicler. 

To this day, 1,372 of her letters survive, mostly written to her beloved daughter, Françoise-Marguerite de Sévigné.

Thanks to this correspondence, we have detailed insight into French history, politics, and culture, not to mention gossip — about the King’s love life, the Rennes tax revolt, or details of the corruption trial of finance minister Nicolas FouquetRead More→

Don’t Tell Alfred By Nancy Mitford (1960)

Don't Tell Alfred by Nancy Mitford

Don’t Tell Alfred (1960) was the last novel by British author Nancy Mitford (1904 –1973) and the final installment of the loose trilogy encompassing The Pursuit of Love (1945) and Love in a Cold Climate (1949). 

Like the two previous novels, Don’t Tell Alfred is narrated by Frances (“Fanny”) Wincham. It takes place some twenty years after the previous two (whose timelines were more or less concurrent) and focuses on the narrator herself.

The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are told from her perspective but have different main characters, both of whom are cousins of Fanny. Read More→