Brief History of Department

The Department of Studies in English is one of the oldest in the University of Mysore. The Department at Maharajas College and Central College were earlier manned by Englishmen who later gave way to Indians. They were J.E. Roll and W.G. Eagleron at Mysore and A.B. McKintosh at Bangalore all of whom were highly influential teachers. B.M. Shrikantaiah, a great teacher heralded a new tradition in Kannada Literature with his work, English Geethegalu. His disciple A.N. Moorthy Rao is widely regarded as the father of the Kannada Essay. His popular play, Ashadaboothi was a successful adaptation of Moliere's Tartuffe. The year 1999 was observed as his centenary year. If Moorthy Rao is known for his fine sensibility, S.V. Ranganna was renowned for his prodigious scholarship. While two wellknown English teachers M.V. Rajagopal and K. Narasimamurthy joined the Indian Administrative Service B.S. Kesavan went on to become the National Librarian at Calcutta.

Maharaja's College offered the B.A. (Hons.) programme in the 1930's and the M.A. programme was introduced in the 1950's. The student strength those days ranged from 2 to 10. Two young Lecturers, C.D. Narasimhaiah (CDN) and M.E. Bharatraj Singh went to Cambridge for Higher Studies. On their return, CDN joined Maharaja's College and Singh moved to Central College. CDN brought new ideas from Cambridge and he found a very receptive principle in S.V. Raganna. As a result, the MA syllabus in the University of Mysore underwent a radical change in the mid-fifties. The Department under the dynamic leadership of CDN also played a pioneering role in introducing new papers in the M.A. course. These were papers on American Literature (1959), Indian Writing in English (1965) and Commonwealth Literature and European Classics (1969). It is significant to note that the University of Mysore was the first in the country to offer these courses.

Many eminent teachers served the Department with great distinction during these four decades. Among them, special mention must be made of the scholar-Teachers, M. Rama Rao, S. Ananthanarayana and N. Balasubramanya. CDN organised several seminars and their proceedings were published in book form and these volumes are widely used as Reference works. H.H. Annaiah Gowda, a Shakespearean Scholar established Centre for Commonwealth Literature and Research, the first of its kind in the country, in 1975. The Centre published several books and played host to eminent writers and critics from the Commonwealth such as Chinua Achebe, Wilson Haries, Samuel Selvon, Edward Brothwaite and many others.

B.M. Shrikantaiah established the great tradition of English teachers writing in Kannada both creatively and criticaLLy. While U.R. Ananthamurthy is a major Kannada writer, the other teachers who have carried forward this legacy are P. Ramamoorthy, B. Damodar Rao, D.A. Shankar, R. Ramachandra and K.M. Chandar. Many of the teachers have been actively involved in the work of translation both from English in Kannada and from Kannada into English. They are P. Ramamoorthy, D.A. Shankar, C.P. Ravichandra and K.M. Chandar.