An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
Born in 1935 in Sialkot, Pakistan, Zulfikar Ghose moved with his family to Bombay during the war in 1942. By 1965 he had only returned to Sialkot twice, once to attend a marriage and once to mourn a death. Thus, his writing reflects nostalgia for his roots ( "Mystique of Roots"), as well as confusion about where they are, India or Pakistan ( "Loss of India").
In 1952, he made his way to London, where he lived with his father in moderate lack of money. He obtained his degree from Keele University, and spent some years as a cricket correspondent for the Observer while working on his writing. Anthony Smith, B.S. Johnson, and Ghose met when all three served as joint editors, along with John Fuller, of an annual anthology of student poets called Universities' Poetry. He also made the acquaintance of Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and the American novelist Janet Burroway, with whom he occasionally collaborated.
From 1963-69, Ghose taught and wrote in London. Two collections of his poetry were published, The Loss of India (1964) and Jets From Orange (1967), along with an autobiography called Confessions of a Native-Alien (1965) and his first two novels, The Contradictions (1966) and The Murder of Aziz Khan (1969). He met, courted, and in 1964 married the Brazilian artist Helena de la Fontaine. During this time he kept up his correspondence with Anthony Smith despite the differing courses of their lives, and would continue to do so in the years to come.
In 1969, Zulfikar Ghose uprooted and replanted himself once again in Austin, Texas, where he took up a position at the University of Texas as a professor of English. He continued writing and has published a number of novels including the Incredible Brazilian trilogy (1972-1985), as well as the collections of poetry The Violent West (1972) and A Memory of Asia (1984).
The Zulfikar Ghose Collection is organized in two series, I. Poems and Short Story and II. Correspondence to Anthony Smith. The first includes poetry from The Loss of India, Jets from Orange, and other poems and work from that era. The second consists of correspondence with Anthony Smith from 1959-1992.
The poetry holdings emphasize Ghose's work from the early 1960s. The collection of work related to The Loss of India is particularly strong, with nearly every poem from that publication represented in typescript, including "The Body's Independence "and "This Landscape, These People," two poems Ghose attributes to Anthony Smith's influence. Certain poems associated with, but not published in The Loss of India are also included here. One segment of edited work contains a note from Ted Hughes. Among the materials for Jets from Orange are a number of typescripts from that publication that were written concurrently with works from The Loss of India. Of the poems in the final folder, one is dedicated to B.S. Johnson ( "The Between of Love"), one authored by Edward Lucie-Smith ( "Lesson"), and one co-authored by Ghose and Janet Burroway ( "Your Country and Mine"). A single short story by Ghose, "The Third Wife," is also present. All the works are indexed by title in this guide.
Most of the correspondence collected in the second series spans the years between 1959-63, during which Ghose and Smith were collaborating to edit Universities' Poetry. This and other themes are reflected in their correspondence, including their shared love of cricket, Ghose's relationship with imagism in poetry, his poverty, and his courting of Helena de la Fontaine. Of note are letters from across India during a subcontinental tour during the winter of 1961-62, and letters from Austin, Texas, after Ghose took a position at the university. The nature of their correspondence was described in a 1994 lecture Smith gave, a typescript of which is available in the A.C.H. Smith Collection at the Ransom Center.
Open for research
Purchase, 1993 (R12984)
Gautam Ganeshan, 2003
Zulfikar Ghose Collection--Folder List