A Poetic Engagement

Although the first part of the title of Alexander Riddiford’s book is not put within quotation marks, the phrase stands out, so that even the lay reader unfamiliar with Madhusudan Datta would guess that it is, in fact, a quotation. For the reader acquainted with Madhusudan’s oeuvre, the word ‘madly’ would seem typical of the exaggerated phraseology so beloved of him, and it is, in fact, taken from a letter to his friend Rajnarain Basu, describing his state of excited creative composition at the time.