Friday, December 15, 2006

Eastern Writing

Eastern Writing

Eastern writing has always amused and bemused us. The profundity of the insights provokes wonder and the lyricism of the English prose used charms the reader. Thus the writings of Kahlil Gibran, Rabindranath Tagore and some others are considered excellent works…literature that bring out eastern sensitivity and as well as an ingenuity in the use of the English language.

Most eastern writing is spiritual and quasi religious and reflects a worldview that seems esoteric to the uninitiate. It is about cryptic spiritual beliefs and ethnocentric mores, largely unfamiliar to the western mind but precisely because of this they find them immensely intriguing.

I sometimes wonder if it was the language or the thought or both that make eastern literature admirable. The dilemma is whether the language used by these Eastern writers may be regarded as quaint but lyrical rather than literary. The translations of the original thought into English prose sometimes end up as awkward expressions but find acceptance in creative license. Because they are wrapped in an aura of mysticism and enchanting ambiguity the expressions come out seemingly exquisite and romantic but on further scrutiny the quaintness of it emerges; but a quaintness with a naïf charm. But then who is to argue against appreciation. What may be quaint to some would be great literature to others.

No comments: