Seagull Books ESTD 1982

Seagull Books is deeply saddened at the death of its author and friend Benedict Anderson. The following is an exchange of letters between him and Naveen Kishore on the issue of blindness, the theme for the 2015-16 Seagull Books catalogue.

Dear Ben,
Men will pluck their eyes. This is known. Out of shame. And horror. Over a deed committed. Often more imagined than the truth. Sometimes as a gesture made drama. Other times. In the solitude offered by the forest lit exclusively by twilight. Silhouetted against a sky perceived as unforgiving. And definitely unsung. Except by the denizens of the forest who will in time turn this monumental act of blindness into myth and legend. Sung as stories to flood the consciousness of minds to follow. For generations. Unseen. Unheard. Except by the smaller gods. The ones who do not matter as much in the hierarchy of godliness. In shadow or in the harshness of light. Manmade or that of the sun. In any season. It is not important. What is of interest is that the desire to offer up the sacrifice of sight, or in this case hindsight, as atonement is universal. Across cultures. Almost desperate once the urge rises. Like bile. From the pit of  one's stomach. No amount of reason can talk you out of it once the die is cast. The seed planted. In the head.
You just have to go through with it.
There is no room here for grief.
Dear Naveen,
By the machinations of some evil or vengeful god, it came about that the handsome, clever, well-meaning, kingly Oedipus fell in love with a older woman whom he did not recognize, he only saw her. It seems that his queenly mother did not recognize him either. They were married and seemed happy because they saw nothing but only happiness. Then some god explained what they were doing, to hurt them, and while the mother killed herself, Oedipus blinded himself, left his palace and disappeared in the deep forest.
I think that in those days, only men did this, while women killed themsmelves. I am sorry to say that Freud grabbed this ancient story and decided that all male babies everywhere had the fate of Oedipus. But they could be cured.
I think of stories about tough young Indian males who so love Mother India that they they will do anything for her, no matter how horrible. Will some of them blind themselves? Or is that already done, in a special way?
All the same, Oedipus blinded himself because he knew it was his god-given fate. He could understand what the gods had done to him. It wasn't really a case of personal penance. It might be like the early times in India when wives were expected to be burnt alive on their husbands' pyres. It was, wasn't it, their fate?
You may remember Sophocles' last play, composed when he was very old, about blind Oedipus. He had composed Oedipus the King when Oedipus knew nothing.

Meeting the students at the Seagull School of Publishing
Florence Noiville

'At the Seagull School, I met students from all over the world. Passionate about books, art and design, and the way they could invent and design the cover of a book on their computers, being both creative and original while remaining faithful to the spirit of the author and conveying a strong message to the reader. I remember thinking that in Europe where books have often become like any other industrialized 'product', I had not seen this kind of enthusiasm in the publishing industry for ages. From what the students told me, every book, every author seemed to be special. Well, they made them special!'

Florence Noiville, French author and journalist has been a staff writer for Le Monde since 1994 and editor of foreign fiction for Le Monde des Livres, the paper's literary supplement. Apart from her novels, she has written a biography of Nobel Prize-winning author Isaac Bashevis Singer, for which she won the 2004 biography award. Florence taught as a guest faculty in the January-March 2015 courses at the Seagull School of Publishing.

My Experience at the Seagull School
Shanta Gokhale

'A school of publishing was not something I had experienced before I was invited to take a session at the Seagull School of Publishing. 'Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it Superman?' might sum up my bewilderment about the creature I was going to face. I was feeling a little stupid until I discovered that the School in Kolkata was, thus far, the only one of its kind in the country and ignorance about its nature was forgivable.

I have never been a happy speaker, particularly not before an unknown group. But the Seagull people are old friends. They have published all my translations of Marathi plays. They have also published a tome I wrote on Marathi drama which Naveen Kishore described as Draupadi's thali. Or did he compare it to Hanuman's tail? I'm not sure. But with the love, care and meticulous attention to production values that Seagull showered on it, the book came out looking proud and noble. So if Seagull had established a school for publishing, they were going to give their fortunate students not just the knowhow, but also a passion for publishing.'

Shanta Gokhale, Marathi novelist, playwright, translator, bilingual columnist, theatre historian and critic. She taught as a guest faculty in the June-August 2015 Editing course at the Seagull School of Publishing

The Seagull School of Publishing, Calcutta, offers a professional course in Editing and in Book Design run entirely by practicing publishers, editors and designers who are passionate about the craft of publishing. Hands-on training. Conversations with professionals from publishing houses in India and abroad. Classes ranging from copyright infringement to e-books. And a computer lab featuring the best of equipment and software.
APPLICATIONS for the WINTER SESSION: 1 JANUARY - 31 MARCH 2016 ARE OPEN NOW. Hurry! Last two seats available!

After two very successful shows at Bhubaneswar and Lucknow, 
The Seagull Foundation for the Arts presents

Sketches, Scribbles, Drawings 
by K. G. Subramanyan 
at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai

Opening Tuesday, 15 December 2015 at 6 p.m.
On view till Monday, 21 December 2015. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Victoria Memorial Hall and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts present

War of the Relics
and recent works on paper 2015
by K. G. Subramanyan

Thursday, 3 December 2015 to Thursday, 31 December 2015
at Victoria Memorial Hall, Calcutta

'To some truth is single to some others many. And they all devise special signs and symbols, rituals and relics to demonstrate its basic unity. But with the passage of time, these fail to fulfil this function.
They become opaque and private. Instead of leading the human being to a vision of the total truth underlying even the differences they do the opposite, distancing person from person and bringing in
silly confrontations. These bring to life the beastly features in human behavior; baring one's tools of assault, filling ones eyes with suspicion, one's mind with hate and distrust.
So the relics and other devices that were meant to inspire and unite divide and cause dissension.

We see this on a wide scale in today's civilized world, pitting brother against brother, neighbour against neighbour.'
K. G. Subramanyan
War Of The Relics. Acrylic on canvas, 9 x 36 Feet, 2012.

Goethe Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan Kolkata 
and The Seagull Foundation for the Arts present

A Missing General, a Trusted Jeep, 
and Submerged Narratives of 1971
Naeem Mohaiemen

Saturday, 19 December 2015 at 6 p.m.
Seagull Books Store
31A, S. P. Mukherjee Road, Calcutta 700 025

'There is an iconic photograph from the 1971 Bangladesh independence war that often surfaces in newspapers, but not as often in Bangla homes. It is of the surrender ceremony of December 16th, 1971. Signing for the Pakistan army, defeated after a two week Indian offensive, is Lieutenant General A.A.K. Niazi. For the Indian side, the signatory is Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Arora. The missing man is usually not remarked on, due to a quiet embarrassment about incongruities. This surrender ceremony was to be the basis for the legal creation of the state of Bangladesh, yet the official commander-in-chief of the Bengali rebel army, General Osmani, is nowhere in sight. I want to think through submerged narratives that are hinted at within this photograph, and the anxiety generated in the body politic about the Indian role in the war.'-Naeem Mohaiemen

Naeem Mohaiemen is a historian and visual artist working in Dhaka and New York. He uses film, photography, mixed media sculptures, and essays to research borders, wars, and belonging within Bangladesh's two postcolonial markers (1947 and 1971).

A History for Peace event
History for Peace is a network for History Teachers in the sub continent.


Grotowski's Bridge Made of Memory
Embodied Memory, Witnessing, and Transmission in the Grotowski Work
Dominika Laster

ISBN: 9780857423177
Rs  750.00 $25.00 £17.00 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

In the Congo
Urs Widmer
Translated by Donal McLaughlin

ISBN: 9780857423153
Rs  495.00 $21.00 £14.50 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

Philippe Jaccottet
Translated by Tess Lewis

ISBN: 9780857423078
Rs  595.00 $25.00 £17.50 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

The Anchor's Long Chain
Yves Bonnefoy
Translated by Beverly Bie Brahic

ISBN: 9780857423023
Rs  495.00 $21.00 £14.50 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

Robert Menasse's 'Der Europäische Landbote', to be published in English translation by Seagull Books in March 2016 as 'Enraged Citizens, European Peace and Democratic Deficits', has been selected to receive the 2015 European Essay Prize! The prize was awarded on 8 December in the European Parliament in Brussels.

Christmas 2015: The top 14 poetry books
Sean O'Brien

Larkin was, of course, much better read and more cosmopolitan than he pretended. His own late Symbolist pieces can be read in a fresh light alongside the mysterious but lucid work of the French Surrealist René Char (1907-88). Char's The Inventors and Other Poems (Seagull Books, £14.50) translated by Mark Hutchinson, makes a fine introduction to this major figure, and Seagull's publications are beautiful objects in themselves.

The Inventors
and Other Poems
René Char
Translated by Mark Hutchinson

ISBN: 9780857423245
Rs  495.00 $21.00 £14.50 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

OLM's Year in Reading 2015

Open Letters Monthly chooses René Char's Hypnos, translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson and published by Seagull Books, as one of its best reads of 2015! Founding Editor Sam Sacks writes: 'The book is a masterpiece of war poetry in part because it has so little resemblance to what we commonly imagine war poetry to be. It is pensive and philosophical rather than grandiloquent or dramatic. . . . The mise-en-scene is gently pastoral, and the mood is one of stoical acceptance and cautious hope that, at moments, blooms into joyous celebrations of human camaraderie. . . . [G]reat books deserve translations in excess of what they actually require, and Hutchinson's version is wonderfully lucid and supple. It was my favorite book of poetry in 2015.'

René Char
Translated by Mark Hutchinson

ISBN: 9780857422170
Rs  495.00 $21.00 £14.50 (HB)

Available at Seagull Books Store and online in India here and world here

Very Fine Gifts
An interview with Chris Turner

Conducted by Neil Badmington in October 2015 to mark the publication of Chris Turner's five volumes of new Barthes translations by Seagull Books

'Translating Barthes for me has been a little bit like translating Sartre, Gorz or Balibar, in that they're all authors I grew up with, so to speak. Sartre represents my A-levels and incipient atheism, Balibar my youthful Althusserianism, and Gorz a later eco-socialism. These were all authors whose books I read as and when they came out. Similarly, with Barthes, as a first year student at Cambridge, I devoured Mythologies, Le degré zero etc. and then seized on everything else as soon as I could get my hands on it. I remember a conversation with Lloyd Austin, the Professor of French, who found me reading the latest Barthes shortly after it had reached Heffers bookshop in Cambridge. He'd obviously sized me up quite well, because he immediately talked about how, as a young man in Paris, he'd joined queues of students at bookshops waiting for the latest Paul Valéry. I still remember him saying that every second young intellectual you met in Paris in those days introduced himself as a 'poet', whereas nowadays you couldn't move for 'philosophers'. I've
always found that a useful bit of historical perspective . . .'

Contact us

Seagull Books
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Seagull Foundation for the Arts
Seagull School of Publishing
36C S.P. Mukherjee Road, Calcutta 700025. 91 33 2455 6942 / 43  |

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