Lalita Pandit


Lalita Pandit
Lalita Pandit
e-mail: pandit@mail.uwlax.edu



 

Lalita Pandit  is a Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin -La Crosse where she teaches courses in Shakespeare, Literary Theory, International Studies in Literature, and general writing and communication courses. Her published books include, Criticism and Lacan: Essays and Dialogue on Language, Structure, and the Unconscious, edited with Patrick Colm Hogan, published by the University of Georgia Press, 1990 ; Literary India: Comparative Studies in Aesthetics, Colonialism, and Culture, edited with Patrick Colm Hogan , State University of New York Press, 1995; Comparative Poetics: Non-Western Traditions of Literary Theory, edited with Patrick Colm Hogan, Special Issue of College Literature. 23. I Feb., 1996. Pandit is an associate editor of the journal College Literature.

Pandit is currently working on putting together a volume of essays, with Patrick Colm Hogan, on Rabindranath Tagore. It is based on papers presented at the International Conference on Tagore's work, Home and the World: Rabindranath Tagore at the end of the Millennium, that took place at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT, September 18-22, 1998. Pandit was one of the organizers of this landmark conference that was mentioned in India Abroad.

Pandit's published essays and book chapters include "Dhvani and "the full word": Suggestion and Signification from Abhinavagupta to Jacques Lacan" (1996); "Non-Western Literary Theories and What do with Them" (1996); "Patriarchy and Paranoia: Imaginary Infidelity Uttaramcarita and The Winter's Tale" (1995); "An Interview with Anita Desai" (1995); "Caste, Race, and Nation: History and Dialectic in Rabindranath's Gora" (1995).

Four of Pandit's Hindi poems, "Devsar main Dhu:svapna," "Vismriti," "Vairagya," "Samay aur Surya," were published in Vishva Viveka, 7: 3, 1998 (an International Hindi Magazine From USA).

Over the years, Pandit has presented numerous papers at national and international conferences on subjects as diverse as Shakespeare, African Authors, various Indian Authors, and on theoretical subjects. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled "Comparative Dramaturgy: Indian Aesthetics and Shakespearean Drama." Pandit has been awarded a research grant and a sabbatic leave grant to complete this project.

At the coming year's conference of the Asian Studies Association of America, Pandit is planning to present a paper on Shankaracharya's and Lalleshvari's devotional poetry. At the Tagore Conference mentioned above, she presented a paper, "Romantic Love in Gora: Tagore's uses of Shringara, Bhavana, and Rasadhvani." Pandit is also currently working on a long overview essay on all the scholarly work done on Shakespeare's influence on James Joyce. This essay will be included in an Internet publication, an Overview of Influence Studies of James Joyce's Work. In addition, Pandit has an essay forthcoming, "Anti-Colonialist Agon and Fashioning of Female Identity in Bessie Head's A Question of Power," in Keepers of the Flame: Power, Myth and Cultural Consciousness in Ethnic Female Identity, eds. Sondra O'neale and Cynthia Tompkins, Wayne State University Press, 1998.

Pandit's published work mentioned above has received numerous highly positive reviews in scholarly journals in the US, in France, and other places. For example, Martha Ann Selby, in a review in the Journal of Asian Studies (56: 2, May 1997), says about Pandit's authorial contributions to Literary India: "the volume's co-editor, Lalita Pandit, is the true star of the collection," "this is comparative literature at its very best." The same reviewer refers to Pandit's interview with Anita Desai as " a superb interview," and calls it "the very soul of the book." Comparative Poetics: Non-Western Traditions in Literary Theory was one of the three finalists for the Council of Editors of Learned Journals' Best Special Issue Award for 1996. One of the judges made special mention of the essays on Indian/Kashmiri (Abhinavagupta's and Anandavardhana's) aesthetics. He/she said, "this issue will certainly become an important scholarly resource in the future. I was especially impressed by contributions of Hogan, Pandit, and Heidinger" (Dec. 1996).

SUKESHI HAS A DREAM

Finally, a significant number of KPnet readers have made highly laudatory comments on the poems that appear in Sukeshi has a Dream and Other Poems of Kashmir. More than any other words of praise, these words spoken by expatriate Kashmiris, who share the loss of history, home, heritage, and culture with Pandit, hold a special value for her.

Sukeshi has a Dream and Other Poems of Kashmir is part of a larger poetry collection, about to be submitted to presses. The genesis of this volume has to do with Pandit's years of intense engagement with teaching literature and literary aesthetics in a cross cultural context, and her theoretical interest in the science of Aesthetics. Above all, this collection owes its existence to Pandit's strongly felt need for creative expression in the face of a violent erasure of the Past: Historical and Personal.

Poetic metaphor holds contradictory states of mind together. Poetic logic is paradoxical. Lyrical Poetry evokes the unspoken by inventing a speech pattern, a voice, a consciousness. It transforms the ordinary into something rare. Working on these poems has been an intensely joyful experience for Pandit, even when the content of many of these poems is sorrowful. Poetry converts sorrow into joy, loss into gain, past into present and future, history into myth, the private into the public.


 
Kashmiri Overseas Association
Kashmiri Poets