20th Century Classics, Administrative Reform, Cambridge University Press, Constitutional Reform, Declining Sri Lanka, Divisional Secretariat, Genius, Harold Bloom, Industrial Revolution, Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood, Michael, Nature Poet, poems, Poetry, Selection of English Poetry, The World Is Too Much With Us, Tintern Abbey, William Wordsworth
I had been considering writing a companion series to 20th Century Classics, my assessment of 50 writers of English prose in the last century, but kept putting it off. Recently however three reasons arose around the same time, which has finally spurred me to take on the task.
First, Cambridge University Press in India finally brought out the book, and within a few months it has been reprinted twice, which is heartening. Secondly, having spent much time and energy writing about the current political situation, I realized that I had exhausted the thrust of what I had been doing over the last year, which is analysis aimed at encouraging future action. There have been series on both Constitutional Reform and Administrative Reform, while much energy has been expended on suggestions for promoting reconciliation, but these have led nowhere.
While I will continue with the Divisional Secretariat meetings which do have some purpose, if only to give people an opportunity to raise issues, and precipitate a few positive responses, writing to be purposeful requires a different direction. Analysis that aims at explication of the past then seems more useful in terms of a sequel to Declining Sri Lanka, which CUP brought out over five years ago, when I had no active political involvements. Now however seems the time to set down what occurred since then, in terms of both the defeat of terrorism and the comparative failure to build of that success.
The less urgent nature of this exercise also leaves room for greater attention to literature. But even so, I don’t think I would have ventured on the task had I not begun reading Harold Bloom’s Genius, which deals with a hundred writers he believes had that special quality. Some of his choices are strange, but my purpose is not to assess them. Nor will I discuss the brilliant insights he so often furnishes.