Last Updated 14 Sep 2020

Vikram Seth Biography

Category Autobiography
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Seth was born on 20 June 1952 in a Punjabi family to Leila and Prem Seth in Calcutta (now Kolkata). His family lived in many cities including the popular banyan tree in assam they lived under it . Seth spent part of his youth in London but returned to his homeland in 1957. He received primary education at Welham Boys' School and then moved to The Doon School. After commencing secondary education at The Doon School in India, Seth returned to England to Tonbridge School. While at Doon, Seth was the Editor-in-chief of The Doon School Weekly.

From there, Seth moved on to study English at Oxford but soon changed his course to Philosophy, Politics and Economics studying at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where he developed an interest in poetry and learned Chinese. After leaving Oxford, Seth moved to California to work on a graduate degree in economics at Stanford University. He then went on to study creative writing at Stanford and classical Chinese poetry at Nanjing University in China.

Having lived in London for many years, Seth now maintains residences near Salisbury, England, where he is a participant in local literary and cultural events, having bought and renovated the house of the Anglican poet George Herbert in 1996, and in Delhi, where he lives with his parents and keeps his extensive library and papers. Seth self-identifies as bisexual. In 2006, he became a leader of the campaign against India's Section 377, a law against homosexuality. His younger brother, Shantum, leads Buddhist meditational tours.

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His younger sister, Aradhana, is a film-maker married to an Austrian diplomat, and has worked on Deepa Mehta's movies Earth and Fire. (Compare the characters Haresh, Lata, Savita and two of the Chatterji siblings in A Suitable Boy: Seth has been candid in acknowledging that many of his fictional characters are drawn from life; he has said that only the dog Cuddles in A Suitable Boy has his real name — "Because he can't sue". Justice Leila Seth has said in her memoir On Balance that other characters in A Suitable Boy are composites but Haresh is a portrait of her husband Prem. Career Work themes A polyglot, Seth detailed in an interview (in the year 2005) in the Australian magazine Good Weekend that he has studied several languages, including Welsh, German and, later, French in addition to Mandarin, English (which he describes as "my instrument" in answer to Indians who query his not writing in his native Hindi), Urdu (which he reads and writes in Nasta'liq script), and Hindi, which he reads and writes in the Devanagari script. He plays the Indian flute and the cello and sings German lieder, especially Schubert.

Business acumen Seth's former literary agent Giles Gordon recalled being interviewed by Seth for the position: Vikram sat at one end of a long table and he began to grill us. It was absolutely incredible. He wanted to know our literary tastes, our views on poetry, our views on plays, which novelists we liked. Seth later explained to Gordon that he had passed the interview not because of commercial considerations, but because unlike the others he was the only agent who seemed as interested in his poetry as in his other writing.

Seth followed what he has described as "the ludicrous advance for that book" (? 250,000 for A Suitable Boy) with ? 500,000 for An Equal Music and ? 1. 4 million for Two Lives. He prepared an acrostic poem for his address at Gordon's 2005 memorial service: Gone though you have, I heard your voice today. I tried to make out what the words might mean, Like something seen half-clearly on a screen: Each savoured reference, each laughing bark, Sage comment, bad pun, indiscreet remark. Gone since you have, grief too in time will go,

Or share space with old joy; it must be so. Rest then in peace, but spare us some elation. Death cannot put down every conversation. Over and out, as you once used to say? Not on your life. You're on this line to stay. Literary work Poetry Seth has published five volumes of poetry. His first, Mappings (1980), was originally privately published; it attracted little attention and indeed Philip Larkin, to whom he sent it for comment, referred to it scornfully among his intimates, though he offered Seth encouragement. In 2009 Seth contributed four poems to Oxfam which are used as introductions to each of the four collections of UK stories which form Oxfam's 'Ox-Tales' book project. Perhaps this could have stayed unstated. Had our words turned to other things In the grey park, the rain abated, Life would have quickened other strings. I list your gifts in this creation: Pen, paper, ink and inspiration, Peace to the heart with touch or word, Ease to the soul with note and chord. How did that walk, those winter hours,

Occasion this? No lightning came; Nor did I sense, when touched by flame, Our story lit with borrowed powers – Rather, by what our spirits burned, Embered in words, to us returned. Seth together with Philippe Honore marketed a double CD of the music mentioned in An Equal Music, performed by Honore. A Style Of Loving 3/14/2012 2. Across 3/14/2012. All You Who Sleep Tonight 1/3/2003. At Evening 1/3/2003 5. Distressful Homonyms 1/3/2003. From California 1/3/2003. How Rarely These Few Years 3/14/2012. Interpretation.

Vikram Seth Biography essay

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