About the Book
.......We were amused and some what distressed that while Indian scholars brought a dead seriousness to certain concepts and phrases like T. S. Eliot's 'Common pursuit of true judgement', Tradition and the Individual Talent', 'objective correlative' 'auditory imagination' and 'dissociation of sensibility', they should have felt shy of their-undeservedly neglected-Indian counterparts, 'because of the absence of a living, native, intellectual tradition in the groves of our academies'.
Coomaraswamy didn't write popular books but, as he intimated in a letter to a friend, wrote books for professors and specialists, those who undermined our sense of values in recent times, whose vaunted scholarship is so very superficial, I feel that the rectification of society and life must be at the reputed top and only so will find its way into schools and textbooks and encyclopedia’s. And yet one is not sure that any Indian university or Museum holds all or many of his writings, the kind of thing American Libraries specialize in. Any step in this direction would be a worthy centenary tribute to the memory of this incomparable scholar, a phenomenon in scholarship. Issuing a stamp is but a ritual, and not in the Coomaraswamy sense, because an outward rite must make for the birth of new man inside.
It is hoped that this volume marks the beginning of such an activity.
Ananda Coomaraswamy has been a forbidding terrain. Patrolled exclusively by art historians and occasionally watched. by art critics so much so that in sending proposals to hold this Seminar I feared we might well be looked upon as impertinent intruders. And not altogether unjustly. A large number of us, teachers of English, may not have heard of Coomaraswamy, such is our preoccupation with Aristotle, Johnson, Coleridge, Arnold, Richards, Eliot, Leaves, the New Critics, Chicago Critics, Symbolists, Marxist and Myth critics, all whose quarrels we have made our own, so much so we have no time for an outlandish figure like Coomaraswamy, born in Ceylon, educated in England, living in the United States and writing on traditional Indian art and culture. At best we have heard of his Dance of Shiva; some may have even read an essay or two in the volume. Beyond that was all theology, mythology, obscurantism! One gathers that apart from reviews he was the author of some 625 essays, papers, monographs and books ranging from Mineralogy to Archaeology and Philosophy, with knowledge of a dozen languages of the world, and treatises on time and eternity, wisdom and power, music, painting, sculpture, furniture and dozens of less known and unknown things and concepts-almost like the sages of old except that he was more far-ranging than they and being a 20th century man, had a keen sense of his age.
**Contents and Sample Pages**