Monday, March 9, 2009

A Handbook of Language and Literature by Sudhir K. Arora, Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2009. Reviewed by Shaleen K Singh

A Handbook of Language and Literature (For Competitive Examinations) by Dr. S. K. Arora is a book ‘designed with a view to keeping the requirement of the candidates preparing for the PGT/TGT Recruitment Test.’ The book is the outcome of an ‘inner-urge’ that ‘forced’ the author ‘to pen a handbook for the ‘strugglers’ (for job) that will remain with them as a faithful and reliable companion in their struggle’. The author without claiming ‘any originality’ has tried to present both a standard introduction to the close reading of literature and an invaluable resource for English Postgraduate students and aspirants of Lecturer’s Examinations like TGT/PGT or NET. Though, the book is designed specially for PGT and TGT Examinations, yet it can be a better companion to students of English literature who have a weak background and also to those who have a sound background but have an urge to sharpen their knowledge as well as a desire to attain excellence in the subject.
The book is divided into two parts of Language and Literature. In the first part, fourteen chapters are included dealing with grammar vocabulary, unseen passages, spelling, punctuation and narration. Part two carries Literary Forms and Terms, Figures of Speech and general introduction of the Authors and their works.
In the first part of Language, the author at first provides basic rules of grammar (in a precise and concise manner) and then includes objective questions to test the knowledge. These methods develop a succinct, thoughtful and incisive approach in the reader and enhance the level of understanding.
One notable feature of the book is that the definitions of various Literary Terms, Figures of Speech and the author’s introduction and other information are short, simple and easy to understand which clears the fact that the book is designed with a view to keeping the level of understanding of the students of U.P. in particular. For example, we may look at the definition of oxymoron that runs as follows: “In oxymoron, two opposite words or ideas are put together.” I think there can no shorter definition be given by anyone. Besides, the example to clear the above definition is also the easiest to note which goes as follows: ‘This is an open secret.”
Similarly, in the second part of Literature, the author’s introduction and some important points to remember are also written in point wise manner in an equally simple, short and clear way with a few objective questions on each author and his/her works.
The book is arduously prepared because author has vicariously experienced the pain and humiliation of the strugglers. There can be no greater reward for the author if some aspirants qualify their examinations with the help this book or benefit themselves by developing an insightful understanding of literature. Kudos to Dr. S.K. Arora for preparing such a nice book!

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