[Akhileshwar Jha, Indian novelist.] Doctoral Thesis titled 'The Development of Christopher Fry's Dramatic Art', with Autograph Letter Signed ('A Jha') to Fry, asking for comments, and covering note by R. K. Sinha of Patna University.

Akhileshwar Jha, Indian novelist, cultural critic and 'anti-colonial intellectual' [Christopher Fry, English playwright and poet; Professor R. K. Sinha, Patna Unversity, India ]
Publication details: 
Thesis: Patna, November 1965. Jha's letter from Patna, 26 May 1966. Sinha's note from Patna University, 20 November 1965.
SKU: 21916

THESIS: 350pp, 4to, with additional 12pp of prelims and 15pp of appendix and bibliography. Reproduction of typescript, with printed title-page, and each page on a recto. In hardback binding covered in brown pseudo-leather plastic; with yellow printed dustwrapper. Title printed on front cover of volume and on front of dustwrapper. Volume good and tight, with minor damp staining at head, in worn and stained dustwrapper. The title-page reads: 'The Development of Christopher Fry's Dramatic Art | A Thesis Submitted to the Patna University For The Degree of Doctor of Philosophy | By Akhileshwar Jha | Patna, | November 1965. A well-written and well-argued thesis, with Jha describing his aim as 'to show the nature of growth and development of Christopher Fry as a dramatist from one play to the other, and point to the unifying principle which underlies his plays of apparently diverse forms. It approaches him primarily as a dramatist, not as a poet or a thinker, and views him always in relation to the popular theatre. The facts which will emerge from the discussion will, it is hoped, refute the prevalent view that Fry is merely a phrase-maker of little substance and little significance.' At the head of Jha's 'Acknowledgements' he writes: 'First of all, I must express my deep sense of gratitude to Mr. Christopher Fry. When I wrote to him I had little hope that he would condescend to reply. But it was the pleasantest surpise of my life to find that he not only sent his reply but also his answers to the queries I had put to him. They inspired and helped me immensely.' As he explains, 'the relevant portions of the correspondence appear in the appendix' (letter and questionnaire from Jha to Fry, with Fry's reply, from 1963). ALS FROM JHA TO FRY: 'Alakh Bhawan', Patna-6, India; 26 May 1966. 2pp, 8vo. In good condition. The letter begins: 'As directed by Miss Adza Vincent, [Fry's personal assistant] I am sending you herewith a copy of my thesis. | It is an examiner's copy, and therefore it bears here and there pencil-marks or pen-marks, particularly in the first two chapters. Please don't mind them.' He asks him to 'go through the thesis and convey to me your own reactions and impressions', suggesting that he leave out the start of the first chapter, in which he has 'tried to relate some known facts of your early life to the essential nature of your dramatic themes'. He wishes he 'knew more' about Fry's life 'than what Mr [Derek] Stanford's books contain'. He realises that alterations need to be made and 'tightening-up' needs to take place in order to 'make the thesis fit for publication', and asks Fry to 'read it with a view to correcting any “conjetures” or “errors of fact” about your life and work I may have made'. He would also like to know 'whether my assessment of your development as a dramatic artist agrees, in general, to your own view of what you attempted and achieved in the contemporary theatre'. On the reverse of the second leaf Fry has written a note drawing attention to Jha's mistaken characterisation of T. S. Eliot as a Roman Catholic. TNS FROM R. K. SINHA: On sip of paper with his letterhead as 'Professor and Head of the Department of English, Patna University'; 20 November 1965. Laid down on the front free endpaper of the volume. In good condition. 'This is to certify that Sri Akhileshwar Jha has worked satisfactorily for the requisite number of terms under my supervision and that his thesis, “The Development of Christopher Fry's Dramatic Art”, embodies his own work.'