Arun Kumar Das Gupta exercised a singular influence on the thought, research and teaching of a generation of pupils who themselves became teachers, sometimes largely owing to his example. Still more importantly, he provided a model of learning, dedication and academic probity to his students at large. Directly and indirectly, he has been a force and an inspiration throughout Bengal – indeed elsewhere in India – for the study of European literature, art and culture.
Professor Das Gupta has been critically identified with the programme of English studies evolved at Presidency College, Kolkata, above all through the efforts of Tarak Nath Sen. But more than his predecessors, he brought the fruits of that tradition to a far wider range of beneficiaries. This volume is a belated and inadequate tribute to this exceptional scholar and teacher. Practical constraints required that contributors be restricted to Professor Das Gupta's direct pupils, and that the papers relate to his dominant interest, the Renaissance.
In effect, this book is a grateful offering from a group of former pupils, all associated with Jadavpur University and most of them on its staff. Professor Das Gupta never had any formal connexion with Jadavpur: all the more reason to record his substantial impact, through his pupils teaching there, on the Jadavpur English programme, especially as regards Renaissance studies.