"A Ved Mehta Reader" by Ved Mehta

A Ved Mehta Reader The Craft of the Essay Ved Mehta

Publication date:
11 Aug 1998
Yale University Press
416 pages: 210 x 140mm
Sales territories:
UK, US and Canada

Unsurpassed as a prose stylist, Ved Mehta is an acknowledged master of the essay form. In this book—the first special collection of Mehta`s outstanding writings—the distinguished author demonstrates a wide range of possibilities available to the narrative and descriptive writer today. Addressing subjects that range from religion to politics and on to education, and writing with eloquence and high style, Mehta here offers a sampling of his works.

Mehta provides a splendid, insightful introduction on the craft of the essay, meditating on the long history and diverse purposes of the form and on the struggle of learning to write in it himself. In the eight reportorial, autobiographical, and reflective essays that follow—each a self-contained examination of cultural, intellectual, or personal themes—he writes on his experience of becoming an American citizen; on Christian theology, with a focus on Dietrich Bonhoeffer; on Calcutta and the poorest of the Indian poor; on the disastrous fates of three of Mehta`s brilliant Oxford contemporaries; and on a variety of other subjects.

Ved Mehta is currently a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in Stanford. He was a staff writer on The New Yorker from 1961 to 1994 and has taught literature and history at half a dozen colleges and universities, including Williams, Vassar, and Yale. He is the author of an autobiographical series of books with the omnibus title Continents of Exile, of which the eighth book, Remembering Mr. Shawn`s New Yorker, has just been published. Among his other books are Portrait of India, Mahatma Gandhi and His Apostles, and Rajiv Gandhi and Rama`s Kingdom, all obtainable from Yale University Press.

"This is a very fine collection of work by an exceptionally distinguished writer. It stands as a model for admirable, high-level reportage on cultural and intellectual issues and may well become a classic in advanced college writing courses."?Stephen Koch, former director, Writing Division, Columbia University School of the Arts

"Yale has done us a service in making these remarkable essays available in so handy a form."?Tony Gould, The Independent

?These essays demonstrate how smoothly [Mehta] can step aside to let his subjects take center stage. As he leads us through the theological paradoxes of the martyred Pastor Bonhoeffer, the imaginary landscapes of Narayan, the quarrels among Oxford philosophers, and the overflowing alleys of Calcutta, we are reminded not only of the author?s catholic interests but of the creative possibilities of the essay form.??New Yorker

?Mehta is a stylist whose personal fascination with a subject can lend energy to the essay form.??Kirkus Reviews

"A useful and representative sampling of Mehta?s life and work. A Ved Mehta Reader is a powerful reminder of why someone would aspire to write, of what an art writing can be, and what can be accomplished in the writing life."?David Peck, Magill?s Literary Annual 1999