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‘Kesari gave new identity to Malayalam literature'

Special Correspondent

The late critic was a visionary, says Azhikode

— PHOTO: K.C. Sowmish

REMEMBERING A LEGEND: Writer Sukumar Azhikode addressing a seminar on ‘Kesariyude Lokam' organised by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi

THRISSUR: Malayalam literature developed a new sensibility influenced by world literature thanks to the efforts of critic Kesari Balakrishna Pillai, writer Sukumar Azhikode has said.

He was addressing a seminar on ‘Kesariyude Lokam' organised by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi here on Saturday.

“Kesari was a ‘technical critic'. He introduced Malayalis to the wonders of world literature. With revolutionary zeal, he strove to create a brave new world. Modern Malayalam literature owes much of its strength to Kesari's pioneering efforts,” he said.

He stated that Kesari's criticism was futuristic. “Some of his observations reveal that had a clear idea about the literature that was going to be created in later years. In this sense, he was a visionary.”

Kesari's criticism helped Malayalam writings break loose from the influence of Sanskrit language and literature. Akademi chairman C.N. Karunkaran and secretary Satyapal were present. Kesari (1889–1960) had introduced an inter-disciplinary approach in Malayalam criticism.

He had inspired writers such as Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai, S.K. Pottekkatt, Vaikom Mohammed Basheer and Kesava Dev and others.

Kesari translated some of the works of Mauppasant, Balzac, Freud and Darwin into Malayalam.

Through his criticism, Malayali readers got familiar with German, French, Italian, Russian, Spanish, Greek and American literature.

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