Fundamentals of English Literature by Dr. Ranjeet Singh, Bareilly: Goel Publishers & Distributers, 2017, ISBN 97-81-85932-00-03.

What are reviews for? Why should books be reviewed? What books deserve review and how the books should be reviewed? These are the questions that usually pop up in a reviewer’s mind before, during and after the reviews of books. Sometimes, books that are too good to be commented upon while at another time, some books are too bad that lead you to write not merely they may harm and leave bad impact on present readers because they may also be going to turn itself to a destroying and misprinted millstone which may ultimately distract a sincere, simple and yoked learner.  Talking about completive books in India suffer a depressing state now-a-days. On the one hand, when ebooks and online stall are replacing physical books, there is altogether more injury to the insult when one observes host of books splurging and clouding the book market like locusts. Like Gresham’s law of money, -“bad money drives out good” such bad books always drive out standard books. In paucity of good books and their prohibitive prices, the mass prone towards such as ‘Fundamentals of English Literature’ by Dr. Rayat Singh. Such books do more harm than bad teachers as the aspirant who is neither so resourceful nor has inclination to consult from other authentic source will solely rely on this and will be clogged of information in the long run.

Before estimating and discussing the harms of baldy-designed (I would say ill-designed) books, I would deliberate upon the erroneous constitution of the book. The book running in 227 pages (as the author makes rarely clear) is designed to meet literature as a core subject (?) but fail to comprehend its basics. The author adds, “They pass B.A., M.A. and when they go for NET, they fumble, the real struggle begins at this point; their ignorance of fundamental information (?) in the subject becomes a lacuna.” And finally the author adds further, “Here comes the role of this book.” The book is beneficial for Literature students (which Literature British, Indian or so on and so forth…?) at every level. But if they read it during B.A. and M.A., they’ll be optimally benefitted.” (foreword) such a tremulous piece of writing will be a graphic peep into the psyche of writer who is more inclined to clutter the readers’ mind with fundamental information and ‘not knowledge’ of Literature. Again, the stuff contained in the book as the author himself claims is ‘optimally’ beneficial for ‘Literature students at every level’ as well as useful for B.A. and M.A. students.  Along with serving the purpose of ‘Utility reference books’ as well as the books ‘useful’ for UG and PG students or he like publisher is in too haste of bringing the book to print.

But these are not the lacunas (the author used the word in singular when he talks about the ignorance of fundamentals of literature and I use the plural when it comes of his book and its lapses.). Here are some of the slip ups:

  1. The book has no verso page. (Left page)

Hence no information regarding printer copyright edition etc.

  • The folio marks on the top of the pages are strangely put below the line.
  • ISBN is printed as ‘ISBN no.’
  • Incomplete list of Noble Laureates- it misses years 1901 to 1906, 1908-12, 1914 – 19 -22, 1924 -1929, 1931, 1933-35, 1937, 1939, 1944-1947, 1951- 52, 1955- 1961, 1963- 1968, 1970 – 1972, 1874- 1975, 1977- 1982, 1984-85, 1988-1990,1994, 1996-2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008-2012 and 2017.
  • A very small list of landmark books.
  • Hundreds of syntactical and spelling errors.
  • Totally student’s unfriendly material as it is written in a manner which becomes unintelligible to even readers.
  • Literary Theory section more informative than comprehensive and elaborative.
  • The ‘Preface’ is written under the title of ‘Foreword’.
  • Corrigendum is titled ‘To be noted’.

The author has very poorly accumulated the online stuff and even more poorly the things are arranged and ever in the worst manner the things are printed. The author and publisher both could have been careful in arranging the matter in better print quality. There are certain rules of ‘iticizing’ and ‘bolding’ the stuff. The author and publisher both seem sufficiently careless about copy editing and ‘Design’ (which author commits in his ‘Foreword’ but in fact has no concern at all).

Again, the question leads us to raise certain other questions as to why such books are allowed to clutter the market? What harms such – informed and mal-designed book actually cause to student community who is already hag-ridden with monsters of ‘getting the job and then No- study at all?’ What can our progeny get in inheritance and what crop we will harvest at the end of the day?

Teachers who are paid community of India should at least work something to satisfy their own being and must not be swept away with howling Tsunami of materialism. These are small things but be detrimental to the healthy market growth of sincere scholars of English Literature.                    

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