From England with Love: An Indian Student Writes from Cambridge (1926–27)
In 1926–27, Kalidas Desai, a student of English literature at the University of Cambridge, wrote a letter every other week to his friend and colleague Vishnuprasad Trivedi. During one of her visits to Surat, his daughter Padma Desai was handed a metal box containing these letters, written in ink on brown decaying paper, the ruminations of a young Kalidas on a wide spectrum of topics: from his battles with Icelandic Norse and Scandinavian Anglo-Saxon languages to his great delight at attending the lectures of T.S. Eliot; from his enchantment with London, its theatres and cricket, to his deep appreciation of the English countryside; from the cultural and social contrasts between Britain and India to the general nature of love, religion and education. In From England with Love, Padma Desai presents a comprehensive selection of these letters. Detailed, picturesque and exquisitely crafted, Kalidas’s prose captures the ethos and zeitgeist of England in the mid-1920s, the trials and victories of an Oxbridge education almost a century ago, and the scholarly reflections of an Indian student in the midst of new and exciting adventures.
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