22 Jul 2012: "Viswanatha: A Literary Legend" launched


In a glittering and well-attended function at Ravindra Bharati in Hyderabad on July 21, 2012, the voluminous book Viswanatha: A Literary Legend was launched. As the title is explicit, ‘Kavi Samrat’ (Emperor of Poesy) Viswanatha Satyanarayana (10 September 1895 – 18 October 1976) strode the Telugu literary scene like a colossus, and is considered one of the all-time greats in the history of Telugu literature. A polyglot, he was also an authority on English literature besides many other subjects. He was the first recipient of Jnana Pith Award in Telugu literature (1970). He was also the recipient of Padma Bhushan (1970) and Sahitya Akademi Award (1962). A man of steely resolve and values of life, his output is considered the most prodigious in the world, with no genre left untouched by him. His published oeuvre consists of 146 works running over 32,000 pages in print – comprising 26 poetic works (including his magnum opus Ramayana Kalpavrikshamu), 14 plays & playlets, 56 novels, 31 collections of short stories, 9 books on literary criticism, one on Telugu proverbs, 7 books in Sanskrit (including 3 plays), and one book in English (a collection of essays on Ramayana published by Bhavan’s Journal).  

To kindle further interest in the Viswanatha literature even among the English-knowing public in India and abroad, the present volume Viswanatha: A Literary Legend has been brought out by the Viswanatha Sahitya Peetham of which Dr Kondal Rao Velchala is the chairman, who incidentally compiled and edited this ambitious tome. Besides some of Viswanatha’s poems in translation and some of his own original articles in English, the bonus is the reproduction of an interview of the colossus by AS Raman. While most of the articles are reproductions from the archives of various newspapers and magazines now translated into English, some of them were originally written in English and are being published for the first time now. In all, 92 write-ups under 13 headings present the reader a comprehensive enough idea of the life, work, values, vision and philosophy of Viswanatha. In short, this book is a veritable treasure trove.  

All the above and more aspects were brought out by the erudite speakers on the occasion. The book was released at the hands of Dr D Purandeswari, Hon’ble Union Minister of State for HRD, who felt that Viswanatha should have been more appropriately called Sahitya Samrat (Emperor of Literature), in view of his phenomenal literary versatility. The function was presided over by Prof RVR Chandra Sekhara Rao (Former Director, Asian Programs of Learning, Vancouver; Former VC, Dr Ambedkar Open University). The galaxy of eminent speakers were – Prof Sunaina Singh (VC, EFLU), Prof C Subba Rao (Former Chairman, State Council for Higher Education, AP), Js P Kodanda Ramayya, Prof JV Raghavendra Rao (Retd Professor of Sociology, OU), Dr Rallabandi Kavitha Prasad (Famous Poet; Director, Cultural Affairs, AP), Vadrevu China Veerabhadrudu (Renowned Critic & Translator; Addl Director, Tribal Welfare Dept, AP) Dr C Mrinalini (Leading writer & Critic; Director-in-charge, Centre for Comparative Literature, PSR Telugu University).  

While Sujatha Gopal and P Geetha Sivaram rendered the welcome proceedings, U Atreya Sarma proposed the vote of thanks.  

For copies: 
Sister Nivedita Foundation’s Viswanatha Sahitya Peetham
11-4-654/3, Red Hills, Lakdi-ka-Pul, Hyderabad-500004
Ph. 040-23396358

Pages 762, Price Rs400 (Paperback) / Bound Rs500 /$20  

(Reported by: U Atreya Sarma, Hyderabad. Jul 22, 2012)

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