Bibhuti Bhusan Banerji (1894-1950)

[As I’ve begun to transcribe entries from Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia for use as reference material on Mark’s Text Terminal, I have begun to notice that some of its entries disclose a blinkered and mildly Eurocentric view of writers from around the globe. This excerpt is no exception. I needed to conduct only cursory research to learn that the writer profiled here is better known as Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay. Otherwise, this squib correctly describes Mr. Bandyopadhyay as a major figure in Bengali letters.

I frequently struggle with issues of style and formatting on Mark’s Text Terminal; indeed, I am working up a style sheet in the interest of maintaining something like consistency here. Still, when I excerpt from reference books and the like, I also feel an obligation to remain faithful to the style of the of book from which I draw, mostly out of respect for authors and editors smarter and more accomplished than I. Hence the header on this text, which is how this author is listed in Benet’s.]

“Bengali novelist. Banerji was an immensely popular author of over fifty books, including novels, short stories, translations, and books on the occult and astrology. His masterpiece Pather Panchali (1928; tr The Song of the Road, 1968), set in a small village north of Calcutta, is essentially an episodic childhood idyll of Apu and his sister Durga. The novel and its sequel, Aparajita (1932), became international classics after Satyajit Ray’s screen adaptations, Pather Panchali (1954), The Unvanquished (1956), and The World of Apu (1959).”

Excerpted from: Murphy, Bruce, ed. Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia, Fourth Edition. New York: Harper Collins, 1996.

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