A House of Many Mansions : Goan Literature in Portuguese (An Anthology of Original Essays, Short Stories and Poems)
Goan writing in Portuguese has had a long and chequered history and at present is all but unknown in the region that inspired it, and by the descendants of those who produced it.
This collection, originally published as a special edition of the reputed literary magazine Muse India, gathers translations of short stories, poems and extracts of novels and sets them alongside critical articles that aim to open up this body of writing for a contemporary Anglophone reader in Goa and further afield.
Though often (but not exclusively) produced from a position of social advantage, and predominantly by Catholics, this branch of Goan literature contains many viewpoints on the history, identity and society of a territory that, while colonised by Portugal for hundreds of years, has always negotiated its place in the world in a wider Indian context. In this house of writing there are indeed many mansions.More info →
Luís de Camões (1524-1580) was the first great European artist to cross into the Southern Hemisphere, and his poetry bears the mark of nearly two decades spent in India, north and east Africa, the Persian Gulf and Macau. His The Lusíads is world famous, but his large and equally great body of lyric poetry is almost unknown outside Portugal. From an elegy set in Morocco, to a hymn written at Cape Guardafui on the northern tip of Somalia, to the first modern European love poems addressed to a non-European woman, these lyrics reflect Camões’s encounter with radically unfamiliar places and peoples.
The bulk of those years - from 1554 to 1568 - were spent in Goa where at least half of his poetry, including The Lusíads, seems to have been composed. He arrived not as a Viceroy, Governor or Admiral, not an authority figure of any kind, but as a convict soldier, sentenced for an assault in Lisbon to military service overseas. He was jailed on three occasions (see the cover picture) and when he left he was almost certainly fleeing the Inquisition.
This book collects, with degrees of certainty from the absolute to the tentative, the lyric poems Camões wrote in Goa. They are translated from Portuguese, but they are very far from representing Portuguese colonial culture, which he at times wrote of with great scorn.
Above all, they should be enjoyed as poetry, transcending place and time but of added interest given the place and time they were written.More info →
The choice of writers, the themes and the styles represented in this volume tell us something about Srinivas Rayaprol himself, about the mind of the creative writer-cum-translator at work. The selected texts cover a range of themes concerning man-woman relationships, women's desires, the plight of single women, the functioning of bureaucrats and politicians, among others. One cannot miss out on the preoccupation with death in many stories, nor can one ignore the ironic twist in the conclusions of some of them. The choices also seem to suggest an inclination for the unusual, rather than run-of-the-mill stories, both in terms of theme and style. The final selection of the stories seems to be purely personal. The order in which the stories have been presented too seems unique, for it defies chronology.More info →
First published in 1988, Rumadful is a delightful collection of short stories that capture a wide range of human emotions. In this collection, the author has also experimented with the science fiction genre, a bold step to take in Indian language fiction during the time it was published.More info →