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Book Reviews - The Twilight Years: A Collection of Literary Articles and Reviews by Ishrat Roomani, published by Paishraft International, Karachi, 2018, Pak rupees 500/-.

Byline: Syed Munir Wasti

The 'twilight years', represents to most prominent critics, the culmination of a long and productive career of the author, Mr Ishrat Roomani. The author, Ishrat Roomani, had had an illustrious career in the area of literary criticism and is also a noted critic of Urdu literature. He has also taken currently produced English literature of Pakistan as one of the foci of his study and critical interest. Mr Roomani is a practicing poet of Urdu and English as well. A list of his creative and critical writings are given on the dust cover of the book which indicates his wide-ranging interests. These cover poetry and prose, criticism, fiction and literary studies and a history of literary movements in Urdu. The versatile author is familiar with the nuances and requirements governing original writings of a literary nature. As such, the reading public and the practitioners of creative writing are grateful to him for his erudite exposition of the nature and impulses in current literature.

The present collection is in English but its focus is chiefly on the literature produced in Pakistan. It contains a critical assessment of the importatnt prose writers, poets and critics of this country. Among the vast array of talented and capable persons who are thus treated, we may note the following: Farhan Raza, Husain Anjum, Qaiser Saleem, Dr Mohammad Mohsin, Dr Manazir Ashiq, Prof. Waris Iqbal [whom I directed to the house of Mr Roomani], Qamar Ahmed Usmani, Jazib Qureishi, Adeeb Sohail, Mazhar Jamil, Ghalib Irfan, Saba Ikram, Masrur Javed, Anwar Alavi, Khalid Irfan, Firasat Rizvi, Javed Manzar, Talat Farooqi, Halima Khatoon and others of note. We observe the long list of prominent writers who engaged Ishrat Roomani's critical attention. The canvas is broad-ranging and covers the different aspects of Urdu literature in all its diverse manifestations.

A separate section gives an extensive study of the poetry of Feza Azami who is a poet of philosophical depth, elegant style and persistent optimism. Under the title 'galaxy of scholars', Ishrat Roomani has written a sketch of four generations of English teachers of the subcontinent. This is indeed a unique achievement and I am grateful to Ishrat Roomani for writing descriptive and biographical essays on this linkage of four English scholars belonging to my family and for his kind and generous comments about myself. It is necessary for critics of Urdu literature to be familiar with the new trends in English and European literature and analyse such trends with reference to their native literature and study the impact of such influences. This task Ishrat Roomani has fulfilled with knowledge, understanding and sympathy.

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Publication:Pakistan Perspectives
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 30, 2019
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