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Echoes of a Bygone Era: Masterpieces of Telugu Literature (1910-1947)

The anthology “Great Telugu Masterpieces Volume 1 (1910-1947)” is a significant contribution to the world of literature, offering a window into the rich tapestry of Telugu stories from the pre-independence era. Translated by Rayasam Srinivas Rao, the collection brings together 25 short stories by 16 masters of Telugu literature, each story reflecting the socio-cultural milieu of the time.

  • Cultural Reflection: The stories delve into themes like freedom struggle, patriotism, social reform, and human relations, painting a vivid picture of life during the pre-independence period in India.

  • Linguistic Diversity: Rao’s translation maintains the original flavor of the stories, preserving the use of dialects, Urdu, and Parsi words within Telugu sentences, thus offering readers an authentic experience.

  • Literary Significance: The anthology not only showcases the evolution of the Telugu short story as a genre but also honors the pioneers like Gurajada Apparao and Sripada Subrahmanya Sastry, who shaped modern Telugu literature.

  • Translator’s Journey: The introduction provides insight into Rao’s personal journey and challenges in translating these stories, adding a layer of depth to the reader’s engagement with the text.

Here are some details of some of the stories:

·        Matilda: This story by Gurajada Apparao explores the life of a young wife named Matilda and her interactions with her neighbors. It delves into the societal perceptions and treatment of women during that period.

·        The Nationalist: Authored by Sripada Subrahmanya Sastry, this story critiques the hypocrisy of a man who claims to hold nationalist ideals yet looks down upon his own culture and people.

·        Eradicating Untouchability: Another work by Sripada, it addresses the challenges of eradicating untouchability in Indian society, highlighting the deep-rooted caste issues even among the lower castes.

·        The Wife: Written by Chalam (Gudipati Venkata Chalam), this story is ahead of its time, discussing the rights and views of a wife as an individual and the societal pressures on young girls regarding marriage.

·        The Bride: By Munimanikyam Narasimha Rao, it portrays a young girl’s firm stand against marrying an older man and her efforts to reform him.

These stories collectively offer a window into the social reforms, rural life, middle-class psychology, women’s issues, satire, corruption, and superstitions prevalent in pre-independence Telugu society. They reflect the authors’ commitment to addressing the pressing issues of their times through literature.


In essence, this collection is a testament to the enduring power of storytelling and its ability to capture the complexities of human experience across time and language. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Indian history, literature, and the art of translation.



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