6 Apr 2009

Sri Aurobindo's Sevenfold Prose Style

Sri Aurobindo’s Prose Style by Goutam Ghosal is one of the professional studies which examines the characteristics and nuances as much as influences and traditions given to the creation of newer possibilities of expression. It is not in an isolationist manner that one would admire his uniqueness, but by holding a universality which can become spiritually wide and comprehensive, and rewarding, that one might be able to enter into the vastness of its exoteric as much as its esoteric spirit. Ghosal says in his preface that “Sri Aurobindo never wrote like a scholar… [even] when he was a real scholar. Tradition formed his outline, the novelty came from experience. The more he matured the more he depended on his own experience. …his prose is of a literary artist with a mind of exceptional calibre.” It is a pity that the recent biography The Lives of Sri Aurobindo is unable to enter into its immensity and feel the charm of its ambiance, the presence of the spirit pervading it; not only that, it hurriedly and disparagingly speaks of it, Sri Aurobindo’s prose style, having problems in structuring itself for the modern mind to appreciate and understand it, to value the contents. But there is in his prose style, says in the foreword VK Gokak the eminent literary critic of yesteryears, “meticulousness and virtuosity possessing the power, charm and propriety” that stand out distinctly. In this author must have been from Cambridge we have a large number of examples presenting Sri Aurobindo’s prose writings belonging to different periods of time and covering diverse subjects. These should be sufficient to dismiss the oblique manner of looking at Sri Aurobindo as an author, one possessing exceptional power of expression which is lucid, powerful, musical, full of harmonious coherences climbing to the sheer inspired and inevitable mode of expression, the revelatory speech itself. It is in that context we reproduce in the following a chapter from Goutam Ghosal’s study, lending weight to what the perceptive and discerning see in Sri Aurobindo’s writings. Ghosal himself is an academic and carries authority being the professor and head of the English Department at Vishwa Bharati University, Santiniketan. Here is a remarkable chapter, chapter nine, entitled Style in the Major Works: Fusion of Myths and Seven Kinds of Style in Sri Aurobindo’s Prose Style published in 1990. ~ RYD

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Sri Aurobindo's Prose Style

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