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Collected Plays and Short Stories

Part Two

Bibliographical Note

The Viziers of Bassora is one of the early works of Sri Aurobindo on a major scale. Written in Baroda, it has a curious history attached to it. Sri Aurobindo seems to have had especial fondness for this early creation of his. He particularly mentioned it in the Introduction to Collected Poems and Plays as one of the two works lost the other being a translation of Kalidasa's Meghaduta (Cloud-Messenger).

By a strange turn of destiny the drama was recovered from the Government Archives in 1951 along with other manuscripts which had been exhibits in the Alipore Conspiracy Case.

This play was published in Sri Aurobindo Mandir Annual, 1959, and also issued in book-form in the same year.


Prince of Edur was written, as noted in the manuscript, in 1907, that is to say, in the very thick of Sri Aurobindo's political activity. It is not complete as it has only three acts and not five. The Prince of Mathura, available as a fragment and printed here for the first time, is a different version of the same theme.

Prince of Edur was first published in Sri Aurobindo Mandir Annual. 1961.


The Maid in the Mill and The House of Brut are both incomplete and belong to Sri Aurobindo's early Baroda period. They were printed in Sri Aurobindo Mandir Annual, 1962, for the first time.


The Birth of Sin printed here as a play seems to be the first version of what appeared as a dialogue in poetic form in Collected Poems and Plays of Sri Aurobindo in 1942.


Vikramorvasie or The Hero and the Nymph, translated from Kalidasa's play in Sanskrit, was written in Baroda and it was first published in book-form in 1911. The second edition appeared in 1941 and the third was published in 1952 with “On Translating Kalidasa” as an Introduction and “The Character of the Hero” as an Appendix, both being studies written in Baroda.


Short Stories: The three stories The Phantom Hour, The Door at Abelard and The Devil's Mastiff the last two of which are incomplete belong to a projected series called Idylls of the Occult. The fourth story, The Golden Bird, seems to be symbolic. All these stories belong to the early period in Pondicherry. They have been printed in Ashram journals. The Phantom Hour was also published in book-form in 1951.


Juvenilia: Just as the printing of Volume 7 was brought to an end one incomplete play and one fragment of a play came to light. They belong to Sri Aurobindo's student days in London. The Witch of Ilni bears the date: October, 1891.