The question of whether theory is actually essential for understanding and appreciating literature has long existed in academia. With the onset of what we call the modern age, theory has powerfully penetrated the reception of literature.
It is 2011, a year of milestones for Nepali literature. It represents, for one, the centenary of the romantic exuberance that blossomed in poetry at the hands of masters like Laxmi Prasad Devkota. It also marks the centenary of the nihilism that replaced an earlier tradition of spiritualism in Nepali poetry, which had its roots in Bhanubhakta Acharya, and to some extent Lekhanath Paudyal.
I am still thereAt the border scribbled byA shred of your tearsRemembering your song
This is Prakash Sayami at the border—the no-man’s land characterised by a cleft identity scattered among different, undecided personalities. He is at a quadrivial of creative life, unable still to settle in any particular work. A lyricist, poet, researcher, filmmaker, coordinator, broadcaster among others, Sayami appears intent, at least now, on settling on a track and maintaining it. This track is perhaps offered to him by poetry.
Of late, serious urges to anthologise generic creations with limits of period and epoch are being detected in Nepali literature. Not long after Momila edited selected Nepali poems, and Archana Thapa brought together female voices in anthologies, Prabhati Kiran has edited Samakalin Nepali Kathaharu, a collection of stories by contemporary writers, most of whom are in their early forties or younger. While, for instance, initiatives to collect women’s writing—specifically those of renowned authors—have been many, attempts to incorporate evolving and yet-to-be published authors have practically been nil.
After his essay collection A Wonderer Within, writer Dipesh Parajuli has come up with his novel Essence , the success of which remains to be seen. The novel steers clear of the criticism of lacking linguistic and grammatical refinement—one most commonly received by Nepalis writing in English. This may set Parajuli apart from many who try for fiction in English, but the young writer, in his twenties as yet, has yet to innovate in the domains of narrative structure and choice of themes.