Prof. Dr. K.V. Dominic & Dr. MahboobehKhalegi, eds. Multicultural Studies on Three Nobel Laureates: Rabindranath Tagore, Toni Morrison & Alice Munro. New Delhi: Authorspress, 2016, 327 pp. Price: Rs. 1200, $ 60. HB. ISBN: 978-93-5207-217-0.
Dr. Ketaki Datta
This book is a novel attempt in the arena of ‘criticism’, focusing on the works of three Nobel Laureates like Rabindranath Tagore, Toni Morrison and Alice Munro at one go. Tagore’s versatility and his contribution to various genres of literature stands unquestioned, is beyond doubt. And again, the critical domain is swamped by numerous articles on his multifaceted talents. Tagore winning Nobel Prize in 1913 was not just a matter of pride for Bengal or India as a nation or Asia, by and large, but, his literature and philosophy, his poetry and music stand unique with universal appeal till date.
This book contains eight thought-provoking research articles on Tagore [1861-1941] making us think anew about his multifarious creations. All articles are unique in their own way but Nalini Nambiar’s “Rabindranath Tagore, the Transcendental Ecologist,” “Classic Representatives of Womanhood: A Critical Examination of Tagore’s Heroines in Short Stories” by K. V. Dominic, one of the editors of the book, are quite contemporary in their dealing with the topic, as modern tools of critical theory like Ecocriticism and Feminism came handy for them. Six other articles are also good, no doubt.
Writing on Toni Morrison [born 1931], a Nobel Laureate in 1993, is not at all easy as the ‘black identity’ which she emphasizes in her novels and short stories lies embedded in her growing-up years in rural belt of Ohio. The local touch of the soil, the conceit of the ‘colour of skin’ all find considerable place in her writings. Apart from Nobel Prize, she had also bagged Pulitzer Prize, American Book Award and Presidential Medal of Freedom at different times. Thus, to justify critical analyses of her works, it is essential to have a thorough knowledge of the deprivation of the Afro-Americans in those times, role of a ‘black’ woman writer to raise her voice in protest against all inequalities based on race, identity and colour. Eleven papers on Morrison are there in this volume and five of them are on The Bluest Eye, the most widely read novel by her, which already has been able to carve a niche in the syllabus of Afro-American studies in quite a few universities, here and abroad. And all these five essays judge the novel from five different thought-provoking angles. Though the six other essays are no less scholarly in merit, Swati Samantaray’s “The Search for Identity: An Appraisal of Toni Morrison’s Novels” and Mohammad Roshan’s “Postcolonialism and Identity Crisis in Toni Morrison’s Beloved” embrace wider aspects in respective fields of discussion and analysis.
Alice Munro’s [born 1931] short stories are read widely in the West, but in India, she is not yet so popular among the literature-lovers. Naturally, all the four essayists have done a commendable job by highlighting different perspectives of Munro’s writing. J. Pamela’s “Elective Solitariness in Alice Munro’s Dear Life” is a pleasant read apart from its scholarly appeal.
One must read the book thoroughly to get a solid taste of literary articles on three Nobel Laureates from three different parts of the globe. Kudos to Dr. K. V. Dominic and Dr. Mahboobeh Khalegi for their untiring effort to make this joint editorial endeavour a success. The publisher has brought out the book in a smart jacket and legible fonts.