ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Reviewing the Book' The Continent of Circe; by Nirad Chaudhury, India's Finest Writer in English

Updated on December 24, 2017

Master of Historical interpretation

Nirad C Chaudhury is generally recognized as the original Indian great writer in English. Now we have Kushwant Singh and Salman Rushdie who are Indian writers to the core, but the original master of the English language is Nirad C Chaudhuri.

An Anglophile?

Many claims that Nirad was an Anglophile, this is I am afraid an untruth. Nirad for anything was a true Hindu, a man who had an acerbic pen and he put it to good use. One book by Nirad has written in 1965 titled ‘The continent of Circe’ has generated enough controversy. The book itself is acclaimed having won the Duff Cooper award in 1966. He is the only Indian ever to bag this prize. The book ‘Continent of Circe’ however remains an enigma and very few in India can understand it.

Continent of Circe

Circe, as we all know, is the Greek witch in Iliad’s Odyssey who casts a magical spell on the sailors of Ulysses. Nirad uses the metaphor of Circe to describe a similar magical spell on all inhabitants of the subcontinent.

To start with the prose is difficult and Nirad quotes passages and sayings from Latin and French that very few readers will understand. In addition, his style is slightly archaic, but overall the books open a hornet’s nest about Hindu thought and philosophy as seen by Nirad.

A reading o the book brings out that what Nirad feels about Hinduism. As per him Hinduism is not a religion but is a name for all inhabitants of the subcontinent. He, however, concedes that Hindus and Muslims are entirely different people who just cannot assimilate with each other.

Nirad further says that the Hindu way of life is a contradiction. They extol ahimsa and nonviolence but the history of Hinduism is a history of death and destruction. His view is that the caste system was a method of amalgamating the locals with the Aryans who came from Central Asia.

Nirad also comes out with a theory that the climate of the subcontinent molds Hindu thought and leads to what it is today.

Last Word

You may or may not agree with Nirad but one thing stands out that he has a sharp brain and he puts forth his theory as something original. That is a fact and very few writers have the originality of Nirad.

Nirad was not an anglophile, but the fact he settled in England must go against him. As far as the Continent of Circe is concerned I recommend it to serious students of history and philosophy. They will find it a rewarding experience.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)