Edmund Gosse

      In his “Introductory Memoir,” Gosse provides a glowing review of Dutt’s A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields, another collection of her poetry, that he claims to have received when “the postman brought in a thin and sallow packet with a wonderful Indian postmark on it, and containing a most unattractive orange pamphlet of verse, printed at Bhowanipore, and entitled ‘A Sheaf gleaned in French Fields, by Toru Dutt.’” He goes on to say that the “shabby little book of some two hundred pages, without preface or introduction, seemed specially destined by its particular providence to find its way hastily into the waste-paper basket,” which is how most scholars and critics seemed to have received Dutt’s work. Thankfully, Gosse actually read her poetry and claimed, “When poetry is as good as this it does not much matter whether Rouveyre prints it upon Whatman paper, or whether it steals to light in blurred type from some press in Bhowanipore.” In other words, Gosse found Dutt’s work so fascinating and well-written that it did not matter that it was printed on cheap paper with blurred print at a relatively unknown Indian printing house; Dutt’s work should be noticed, studied, and remembered in literary history: “When the history of the literature of our country comes to be written, there is sure to be a page in it dedicated to this fragile exotic blossom of song.”

But why does Gosse’s opinion of Dutt matter?

      Edmund Gosse was an English biographer and critic. He was a lecturer in English literature at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1884 to 1890 and librarian of the House of Lords from 1904 to 1914. Although today his scholarship is often found to be inaccurate and incomplete, he wrote with enthusiasm and wit about his literary subjects. However, Gosse is almost solely responsible for introducing English readers to Henrik Ibsen by translating his plays alongside Scottish critic William Archer, as well as introducing Britain to some modern French writers and painters in French Profiles (1905).  He was considered an expert on Thomas Gray, William Congreve, John Donne, Jeremy Taylor, and Coventry Patmore, who were all prominent English poets. Gosse wrote well-received biographies on these poets and others, including Sir Thomas Browne and Algernon Charles Swinburne. Father and Son (1907), his autobiography and considered by many to be Gosse’s best work, describes his relationship with his father, Philip Henry Gosse, an English naturalist and author of zoological works, whose biography Edmund had written in 1890. Father and Son partially inspired Peter Carey’s award-winning novel Oscar and Lucinda (1988) and served as the basis for Dennis Potter’s television play Where Adam Stood (1976). Included among Gosse's several volumes of verse are On Viol and Flute (1873) and New Poems (1879). He was knighted in 1925.

Information pulled from the Wikipedia article on Edmund Gosse and his Introduction to Dutt's "Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan"

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