Essays on the Arts & Literature, Cultural Perspectives and Personal Reflections
ISBN 984 70220 0018 9 2008 196pp 215x136mm HB Tk.360.00 US$23.00
As a literary genre, the essays generally cover a wide spectrum of issues, topics and themes, ranging from something mundane and topical to relatively serious and philosophical. Indeed, they sometimes synthesize both aspects in the same piece, e.g. in the author’s essays on evening walk (‘Twilight Ritual’) and ‘Good Conversation’.
Apart from some of the common features that most personal essays share, as mentioned above, there are well-known characteristics associated with such a genre, like irony, wit, charm, a certain level of intimacy (as if talking to a close friend) that often attract the readers of such essays. It also highlights the unassumingly simple, informal tenor and approach that make it easily accessible to a wide audience without compromising the essential seriousness and the strengths, such as insights, reflections, stimulating ideas etc.
For those who enjoy the personal essay, the real fascination lies in the quiet and subtle transition from the simple to the complex, from mere observation to philosophical negotiation. The modest façade conceals an underlying subtlety, as the essay often moves from casual observation to incisive evaluation of ideas, perceptions, values in all kinds of human enterprise. Yet, at all times the essays highlight the distinctions and nuances, constantly sifting the essentials from the inessentials. It is the informal, often charming style that makes it enjoyable. The final effect is something of a highly satisfying experience. It may turn out to be a memorable encounter for the reader.
Azizul Hakeem studied English (BA Hons and MA) at Dhaka University before going up to Jesus College, Cambridge University on a Commonwealth Scholarship to study English Tripos (BA Hons). A highlight of his stay at Cambridge was winning the 1st Prize for Poetry in the Annual Literary Competition held at Cambridge University by Granta, now a well-known literary magazine in London.
On returning home, he joined Chittagong University as a Senior Lecturer and was later appointed Reader. While at Chittagong University, he was offered a Visiting Research Fellowship at Yale University by Emeritus Professor Norman Holmes Pearson. He then took up a teaching position at the University of New England in New South Wales, Australia. A few years later, he accepted a Lectureship at Swinburne University in Melbourne.
He has written several articles and two books of literary criticism. Crisis and Confrontation: Some Studies in Victorian Literature and Society; New Frontiers, New Pioneers: Essays on Modern American Poetry. English Studies (Belgium) published his article on Sylvia Plath and Edvard Munch which was well received. He has also written articles, poems and book reviews for local publications in Australia.