I cannot bring a world quite round,
Although I patch it as I can.
-- Wallace Stevens
If there is an idea that looms large in these pages, it is the necessity of mediation, its inevitability: the inevitability of links/connections, be it between texts and their audience, between the writer and the publisher, between the colonizer and the colonized, between the free and the not so free, between the historian and the creative artist, between the colonial past and the postcolonial present—the list can be endless. Whether the mediation has been successful or not is another issue, but what matters most is the recognition of the need to establish connections, which in turn would also ensure that multiple voices are recorded/acknowledged. And perhaps it does also give one that necessary humility which follows the realization that ultimately no single writer or historian can claim to possess ‘essential’ knowledge about a place or a history.
We may also recall here what Salman Rushdie wrote about Indian writers in English more than a decade ago in his Introduction to The Vintage Book of Indian Writing: 1947-1997: “Their work is as multiform as the place, and readers who care about the vitality of literature will find at least some of these voices say something they want to hear…. One important dimension of literature is that it is a means of holding a conversation with the world. These writers are ensuring that India, or rather, Indian voices (for they are too good to fall into the trap of writing nationalistically) will henceforth be confident, indispensable participants in that literary conversation.” That Aravind Adiga has carved for himself a niche in the complex global literary marketplace speaks volumes about how successful he has been in the use of literary strategies/devices.
Reflections from poets come to us in various shades in these pages: spiritual, visionary, nature-oriented, cultural, social and so on. This issue also brings to you short stories in translation—stories, which are as varied in their subjects as possible—we have the fantastic, the morally elevating, and the playfully serious.
Readers and prospective contributors of the journal can look forward to the editorship of distinguished Professor Alladi Uma from the Department of English, University of Hyderabad, who takes over as the new Consulting Editor of the IUP Journal of Commonwealth Literature. She holds a Ph.D. from State University of New York at Buffalo, where she studied under Leslie Fiedler. We are glad to have her consent.
To conclude on a meditative note, here are two quotes which once again take us back to questions of connections and mediations. First, from Sri Sankaracharya:
Like a city seen in a mirror is the universe,
Seen within oneself but seemingly of Maya born,
As in sleep
Yet is it really in the inner Self
Of Him who sees at the Point of Light
Within Himself, unique, immutable—
And now from Jorge Luis Borges:
The terrifying immensity of the firmament’s abysses is an illusion, an external reflection of our own abysses, perceived “in a mirror.” We should invert our eyes and practice a sublime astronomy in the infinitude of our hearts….
Let there be more of such ‘conversations’…
-- Nirmala P G