Ralph Russell
Urdu literature > An Anthology of Urdu Literature


(Originally published under the title Hidden in the Lute)

This book presents in English translation a wide ranging survey of two centuries of Urdu literature spanning roughly the years 1750 to 1950. The book begins with stories, sketches and popular anecdotes which require no explanatory background, moving to the literature of the late nineteenth century, in which controversy rages between writers who wish to adopt radically modern ideas and others who are concerned to preserve their traditional cultural heritage. After that, there is a section on poets and the poetic tradition, concluding with a selection of some of the major poets, and finally an extract from one of the greatest novels in Urdu literature, portraying the life of a nineteenth century courtesan.


Stories and Sketches

  • Prem Chand: A Wife’s Complaint
  • Ismat Chughtai: Tiny’s Granny
  • Rashid Jahan: Behind the Veil
  • Krishan Chander: Kalu Bhangi
  • Saadat Hasan Mantu: The Black Shalwar
  • Shaukat Thanavi: Love and Prudence
  • Ismat Chughtai Hellbound

Popular Literature

  • Popular anecdotes
  • Stories of Akbar and Birbal
  • Stories of Mullah Dopiaza
  • Stories of prophets and great men
  • The Creation of Adam, the Fall of Iblis, and the loss of Paradise
  • Sikandar, Khizar, and the Water of Life
  • Sikandar in India
  • Khwaja Hasan Nizami: Guests are Pests

Love Poetry

  • The ghazals of Mir and Ghalib
  • Love in Muslim society
  • Mystic Love
  • Other themes
  • Images and Allusions
  • Listening to ghazals
  • Eleven ghazals of Ghalib
  • A living tradition

The Challenge of New Light

  • The New Light and the Old
  • The Satirical Verse of Akbar Ilahabadi

Poets and the Poetic Tradition

  •  Muhammad Husain Azad: Nasikh: the portrait of a poet
  • Abdul Halim Sharar: The King and the Singer
  • Farhatullah Beg: A memorable Delhi mushaira
  • Altaf Husain Hali: A memoir of Ghalib
  • Ghalib: Letters

The Novel

  • Rusva: Umrao Jan Ada

Carcanet Press, UK (1999)
ISBN 1-85754-468-4

< Back to Urdu Literature

home . about me and my work for Urdu . Urdu literature . Urdu language courses . My autobiograpy
SOAS and me
. contact