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G. V. Desani (Govindas Vishnoodas Desani) Biography

(1909– ), (Govindas Vishnoodas Desani), All About H. Hatterr, All About Mr Hatterr, a Gesture

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Walter John De La Mare Biography to Hilda Doolittle Biography

Indian novelist and dramatist, born in Nairobi, Kenya, educated privately; he came to England in 1926 and worked as a journalist. Throughout the Second World War he lectured on Indian Affairs for the Ministry of Information. From 1952 to the mid-1960s, he lived in monasteries in India and became a professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, in 1968. Desani's most celebrated work is All About H. Hatterr (1951; revised 1970, 1972, 1986), originally published in 1948 under the title All About Mr Hatterr, a Gesture. Widely regarded as a comic masterpiece of the Absurd, the book recounts the fortunes of the worldly but philosophically disposed H. Hatterr with extraordinary stylistic and idiomatic mobility. The novel shares an underlying concern with illusion and reality displayed in Desani's Hali (1951), a poetic drama whose mystically exalted manner is in the traditions of classical Indian literature; it is collected with his shorter fictions in Hali and Collected Stories (1990). Desani became an American citizen in 1979.

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