Malayalam writers to publish world classics

Thiruvananthapuram: The quarrelling siblings in Fyodor Dostoevsky`s `The Brothers Karamazov`, the wizened bell ringer in Victor Hugo`s `Hunchback of Notre Dame` and many such memorable characters in world classics will soon have a `re-birth` in Malayalam, thanks to an initiative by Asia`s first writers co-operative publishing house.

Now on a revival path after passing through hard times, `Sahithya Pravarthaka Co-operative Society` (SPCS) has embarked on an ambitious plan to re-produce in Malayalam the works of the all-time greats of world literature.

Established in 1945 with the blessings and support of leading Malayalam writers, SPCS has over the decades run into serious financial troubles, mainly due to mismanagement.

The past glory of the writers own publishing house has, however, been restored to a great extent through concerted efforts with the support of the Kerala Government. The "classics" project is part of the revival plans.

Unlike most other publishers, SPCS will not bring out the abridged versions of world classics but full text versions since the ultimate objective of the project is to give readers the original feel and spirit of the characters and the period.

The books will made more attractive by illustrations, colourful cover pages and reader-friendly print, said SPCS President and poet Ezhacherry Ramachandran.

"World literature and classics have been an irresistible attraction for the past generations, especially in the 1950s and 60s. But the new generation is addicted to other forms of literature like crime thrillers and pulp fiction. In the process, memorable characters created by great masters like Victor Hugo, Fydor Dostoevsky, Leo Tolstoy and Charles Dickens have slipped into oblivion," Ramachandran told reporters.

"But now, readers` interests are getting revived and they are coming back to classics. The roaring sale of world literature reflects this trend. Our project will definitely bring new generation readers in Kerala to world literature again," he said.