09 March 2007

Two Passings

Noted journalist and literary critic Sham Lal passed away a couple of weeks ago. He was editor of Times of India from 1967 to 1978 (before our time). But he was best known for his book review column 'Life and Letters'. A collection of his reviews was published as A Hundred Encounters, a book that can be considered an introduction to 20th century Western thought and literature.

Coincidentally, one of the thinkers reviewed in A Hundred Encounters was Jean Baudrillard - who also passed away, this week. Baudrillard is commonly described as a post-modernist, but that term does not convey much useful information. Trained as a sociologist, he is famous for his theory of hyper-reality. Most people were first introduced to Baudrillard in the film Matrix, where his book 'Simulacra and Simulacrum' makes a brief appearance.

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