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The first foray east in the "In Mind" series, India in Mind collects the varied appraisals of a country that has tantalized and largely eluded writers for much of its history. A vast and varied land, India has long been the repository of myth and legend. Only in the last hundred years, when the majority of the selections collected here were written, has there been a literary engagement with India that is honest and nuanced in proportion to its complexity.
From its vibrant cities and its majestic countryside, to the subtle gradations of caste and the promises of an emerging democratic nation state, India is a land of extremes and contradictions. And yet with all its spirit and deep-seated spirituality, it is a place as sure of where it's been as where it's going, a sanctuary for travelers drawn to its inviolable sense of history and the restless ferment of a country emerging from the shadow of its recent colonial past. In the work of Western observers Kipling and Forster, favorite sons and daughters Pico Iyer and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Americans like Allen Ginsberg and Peter Matthiessen, in thrall to its spiritual and natural splendors, and in the great historical imagination of Gore Vidal, here is an India as rich, burgeoning, and uncontainable as its billion people.