February 4, 2023

Month: May 2020

Himadri Datta’s Photographs: Ahmedpur-Katwa Narrow Gauge

Himadri aims to present ‘a complex surface through simple elements’. Each photograph tells a story, and the stories ensconced in Himadri’s photographs are testament to his engagement with the quotidian. Photographs featuring Ahmedpur-Katwa narrow gauge railway, some of which have been shown in Bikshan Film Society’s 6th Photo Exhibition, are inspired by his childhood spent in the Ahmedpur rail colony. It is this prolonged familiarity with the space that lends authenticity and life to the otherwise brief existence of people caught between extended tracks and the transience of travel.

Musings II: Of Death

The lively presence of children at memorial ceremonies, much as they are upbraided for threatening to dilute the solemnity of such occasions, actually relieves frowning adults of the burden of mourning. In Bengali Hindu middle-class households, there are gastronomic and sartorial codes around memorial meetings. The host and hostess must ask guests, “Kheyechhen to? I hope the dhnokaar daalna is up to the mark? And the shukto?”

The Relationship Between Comparative Literature & Translation Studies

If Translation Studies helps the comparatist to actually engage with the questions of language/language-use, reception and changes within a literary system, then Comparative Literature and Translation Studies can be the best of friends. And Comparative Literature, now more than ever, is in dire need of friends. This is not because there is, or as people like to imagine there always has been and always will be a crisis in the discipline of Comparative Literature.

Musings #I: On Travel

A visit is too purposeful a project, particularly short-term ones. Only a long stay allows one to loosen the bonds of convention and custom. Though I began this essay with a reference to early modern travel, I cannot say I look upon travel with the same kind of educative zeal as, say, Sir Francis Bacon does in his essay Of Travel.

Documentary Film and Painting: The Crisis of Representation

In fact Van Gogh often acts as a darling to filmmakers only because his representational mode. A careful investigation of the Dutch painter’s works would expose that his revolution laying the fact that he like a true iconoclast forced painting to come in close liaison with music. His violent lines convincingly cross the boundaries of frame. They go outward. Instead of converging they diverge.

What Emilia Knew: Shakespeare Reads James

While recently rereading Derrida’s beautiful essay, “On Forgiveness”, I found myself imagining a story around it. So, the essay became one about a scene, rather than an idea, of forgiveness. “Forgiveness is mad,” Derrida writes, “It must plunge, but lucidly, into the night of the unintelligible.” I had been writing about Tagore’s Ghare Baire too, and, when I got tired of working, watching bits of Antonioni’s La Notte on YouTube. These night-haunted and night-haunting masterpieces by Tagore and Antonioni came together in my head and provided me the key – the ‘theory’, as it were – to reading Derrida’s piece on forgiveness, rather than the other way round.