G. D. Barche is a renowned stylistician and critic of Indian English Literature who has been actively involved in the critico-criticism and literary stylistics. I remember only few critics like Nar Deo Sharma, T. Vasudev Reddy and R. S. Pathak who have analyzed the poetry of Indian English poets and authors in the light of their linguistic choices i.e. stylistics. Stylistic analysis of the poem is a peculiar type of criticism in which a poem is judged from the view point of language and style. Previously, Dr. Barche’s Understanding Poetry- A Stylistic Study and now this book Interpreting Literature: Myth and Reality will help the new scholars and poets to learn how good poetry or fiction is written as well as motivate other critics to strengthen this branch of criticism. Poets and editors like O. P. Bhatnagar, R. K. Singh, D. C. Chambial and G. S. Balaram Gupta promoted this critic by publishing his articles in their respective journals or edited books.
The book under the review is divided into three parts viz. poetry, novel and drama in which 26 articles are included discussing the various literary pieces. In the first section of poetry the article ‘Makrand: A Study in Schema Theory’ is about Kolatkar’s poem ‘Makrand’ in which the critic, first seeks responses of various poets and critics on the poem, then elucidates new meanings which arose in his mind and heart. And so, are his articles on Kamla Das and Toru Dutt. But the article ‘Upnishadic Vision in Keats’s ‘Ode to Nightingale’ explores certain new vistas when he raises a significant and entirely new question, “So the question is why this man fails to achieve the state of unmixed joy that is achieved and enjoyed by the nightingale?” (27)
And keeping in view the Taittiriya Upanishad, he himself answers, “Experiencing the state of unmixed joy is the state of experience of the Brahma, the infinite and all pervading. Taittiriya Upanished has also put it as ‘ Anando Brahmeti vyajanat’, that is , ‘Anand’ is Brahma and this ‘ananda’, ‘happiness’ can be experienced by only those whose ‘citta’ (mind) fulfils the condition laid down by another Upanishad as follow:
Yada na liyate cittam na viksipyate punah
Aningam anabhasam, brahma nispannam tat tada (27)
It is interesting to note that the nightingale (of Khag Yoni) succeeded in experiencing the ‘unmixed joy’ i.e. Brahma while the man (the crown of creation) failed as he could not fulfilled four conditions of being undigressive, unagitative, unvasilliated and unillusory. The other articles and the poems of R. K. Singh, Sunita Jain, P. K. Joy and Kamla Das throw ample light of criticism which is Vedantic and Upnishadic as well as objective.
In the second section of novel, the critic has tried to see behind the veil. For example when he says:
Manohar Malgonkar’s The Men Who Killed Gandhi is at once a political, social, historical document and also an excellent literary piece of art. On the face of it, the novel appears to be a common- place collage of political and social events and action around the mixed occasion of the advent of freedom and partition of India; but then a close and concentrated reading makes one see the heart touching existential ironic encompassing not only the contemporary but also all time operations of life. (121)
The articles on Shashi Deshpandy’s Roots and Shadows, Arundhati Ray’s God of Small Things, Graham Green’s A Burnt out Page and Shashi Tharoor’s Riot and Tasleema Nasreen’s Lajja are fine examples of creative criticism of Dr. Barche.
In the last section of Drama two articles are included in which the first is ‘Othello –A Vritti Approach’. Here Barche has attempted well to clarify the hazy notions of Othello sufferings and fall in the light of Vritti derived from Patanjali Yog Sutra and similarly the second article on Tuglaq elucidates the cause of Emperor Mohammed Tuglaq’s fall and suffering in the abhinevesha a Klesa talked of by Patanjali in Sadna Pada.
It is obviously a new approach to examine the works of the West & East in the light of Eastern Philosophy & especially the Yoga, one of chief offshoots of Indian philosophies. G. D. Barche will be remembered her two peculiar approaches, i.e. the stylistic criticism and criticism based on oriental philosophy and Upnishads. Again the critics like R K Singh, G D Barche, O P Bhatnagar, I K Sharma, Nar Deo Sharma, H S Bhatia who have been foundation stones of Post Independence Indian English poetry will certainly be the torch bearers to the new critics and poets for their invaluable contribution to literature. New critics will find plenty of material from this book as well as the Westerners will also learn about the universality of Indian scriptures. Truly his second volume has put both the myth and reality applied in the interpretation of literary piece. I congratulate Dr Barche and the publisher both for bringing out such a nice book.