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Ralph Russell’s compact, appealingly personal history of Urdu literature is informed without being pedantic, balanced but up-front about the author’s own predilections, and sympathetic to the subjects he writes about without abandoning a critical stance entirely (his critiques of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and well-rounded assessment of Iqbal’s national vision for Pakistan, stand out as especially nuanced). I appreciated his description of his own initial difficulties in learning to enjoy the conventions ...more
A well written, informative book. It gave me a fresh perspective on something I think of, and cherish, as my own heritage. There were times when I disagreed with Mr. Russell's opinion of an author, or with his interpretation of a certain story or a verse, but that wasn't something that left me distraught. For one, the nature of Literature as a genre allows for such discrepancies to exist. Secondly, the author is (of course!) much more acquainted with Urdu Literature, and with the material ...more