Friday, January 19, 2007

Dalrymple Fan Club

I have recently become a fan of William Dalrymple. It all started when I went crazy enough to buy a book as expensive as the Last Mughal is. Well, to keep a long story short, I loved it. Subsequently, I kept on getting deeper and deeper into his writing. My second Dalrymple book was In Xanadu, and I think this has to be seriously one of the funniest, most moving and unputdownable travelogues ever. Unfortunately, since this travelogue did not include India, I went on to the City of Djinns that I am reading right now. And except for the fact that he describes Chandigarh (My hometown), in less than glowing terms, I agree in most part with what he says.
Come to think of it, this name Dalrymple, something like a Dal-Rymp-Pel. Almost like a variant of acne vulgaris or something but better. Mr Dalrymple, I wish I had a turn of phrase half as good as yours. I was googling about him, and found this article, do have a read.


tatastha said...

I have to admit thatI am not a big fan of travel writters, as i get easily bored with history and the external descriptions of the places..However i believe a good travel writter will have an intimate connection with the place, an opinion and a voice. in order to nurture and develop ones voice one must have an intimate relationship with the language. the very nature of language is tied to ideas of communication the expression of thoughts, feelings, and ideas to another. If one want to nurture and develop these skills one must have deep connection with one's self. In this way one can develop a unique writing style and voice, and expressing that voice with your thoughts and observations of the world around you. If one wants to go deeper with language and unconscious.. one can start reading Lacan's Language of the Self.. which is facinating but boring. :)

P.S shrinked immaculate... I do like ur writting and ur pics.

Sourav said...

Dalrymple is the man! I've heard he's extremely popular in India.

Dalrymple's last few books have mostly been about India - and he's especially interested in late medieval (primarily Islamic) India, and Indian cultural influences and interactions with Britain. I am yet to read The Last Mughal. Of course, being a poor student that I am, I will probably have to get it off a library. How much is it for in India, anyway?

I think City of Djinns is his best book so far. The way he analyzes and interprets the city is indeed unique, as is the way he unfolds the history in layers - bringing out each of its incarnations. What is particularly amazing is his research into the minutest detail, and the smallest stories which would never ever make it to any textbook. Besides India, his interest also lies in early Islam and Christianity, and exploring their commonalities - th result of which is From the Holy Mountain.

You may also like to listen to this radio talk show of his where he talks about the attitude of the British during the Revolt of 1857, and the current American attitude towards Iraq. What he is saying is that the Revolt of 1857 shows the earliest neo-conservatives (neo-cons) who make up much of the current US administration.

Here it is

Sourav said...

So I finally got hold of the book, and its pretty good. Dalrymple seems to be becoming more of a historian than a travel writer now. Its all good, except that we won't see much stuff like City of Djinns.

Also, I sometimes disagree with his extrapolations of Indian Muslims to Islam in general.

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