COROMANDEL DIARY

Travel accounts—day to day recordings of the factors of the European East India Companies during their stay in India—have constituted an invaluable source of in-formation tor researchers working on India’s trade his¬tory in the 17th and 18th cen-turies. The Memoirs of Francois Martin, an employee of the French East India Com-pany, whose sojourn in India covered about thirty-seven years (1669-1705), is no ex¬ception to this rule.

BRIDGING THE GULF

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has emerged as a curiosity for the western world ever since it got the indus¬trialized economies over a barrel. For centuries the nomadic tribes in that obscure peninsula were left to settle scores among themselves. The house of Al Saud, which even¬tually established its ascen¬dancy through the epic efforts of the redoubtable Abdul Aziz, compelled recognition of his control of the greater part of the land mass by the great powers, with the Soviet Union, ironically enough, leading the way.

MODERN POLISH VERSE

An anthology of modern Polish poetry in English trans¬lation should appropriately be reviewed by one who knows both Polish and English. I do not know Polish, and this excludes from the scope of this review one of the important tasks of reviewing a literary work in translation. The ap¬preciation of how far the translator has succeeded in conveying the mood, music and meaning of the original to the translated version is thus inevitably absent.

SKETCHY THESIS

Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale, and The Tem¬pest have more features in common than any other group of Shakespeare’s plays. They were written in succession to¬wards the end of his life, and there is a persistent belief that The Tempest was intended to be the author’s farewell to the theatre (although he spoilt this neat symmetry between-art and life by going on to write Henry VIII). The first attempt to examine these plays as a group was probably made in the 19th century, though an awareness that they have some ‘ features in common can be traced back to Ben Jonson, who criticized the ‘mouldy tale’ of Pericles and the drolleries of ‘tales and tempests’ for their violation of the unities and verisimili¬tude.

FIRE AND ICE

Since Lionel Trilling raised the issue of Robert Frost’s ‘terrifying universe,’ the question of the poet’s poetic style as a means of articulat¬ing his complex vision has received profounder critical attention. T.R.S. Sharma’s critical work is an attempt to study the stylistic features of Frost’s poetry such as metony¬my, metaphor and synecdoche, and to explore their relation with syntax and other linguis¬tic correlatives.

A FLAWED MIRROR

Naipaul comes from a conservative Brahmin family in Trinidad, West Indies, and in Trinidad many Hindus have chosen to preserve the age-old prejudice against Muslims. Naipaul himself has never shown much interest or sym¬pathy towards Muslims in his writings. Among the Believers focusses on Muslims in Iran, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indo¬nesia. I was sure it would be an easy book to dismiss.

CULTURE AND INTERDEPENDENCE

Both the books under review are the outcome of two separate conferences held in Honolulu at the Culture Learning Institute of the East-West Centre in Hawaii. The first book consists of ten papers discussed at the December 1976 conference on ‘Emerging Issues in Cultural Relations in an Interdependent World.’ It deals with the subject from the standpoints of economics, political philo¬sophy, education and research.