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The Edusites Guide to Tom Stoppard’s ‘Indian Ink’

Richard Gent | Thursday October 07, 2021

Categories: KS5 Resources, KS5 Literature, Drama, Indian Ink

“Simple black or blue-black ink also used in medical applications. Made of soot (or ‘lampblack’) and mixed with gelatin or shellac as a binder. Much used by artists because when it dries it does not bleed”

In 1930 Flora Crewe, an English upper- class socialite and poet, travels to India where she believes the hot weather will be good for her developing tuberculosis. She is 35, a model, a communist and her poetry has become controversial because of its open sexuality.  She stays for five days in the town of Jummapur ‘up from Bombay’. She is on her way further north but has a speaking engagement on ‘London Literary Life’ to the local Theosophical Society at the home of Mr. Coomramaswami, its President.

Edusites 'Indian Ink' Resources

Theosophy was popularised in the late C19th and early C20th by Madame Blavatsky (see the references to “Bagpipe Music’ later). It was supposed to reveal the eternal secrets and cohering forces of all world religions together in one set of beliefs: principally Buddhism, Christianity and Hinduism. It is important here because it provides a controversial venue for Flora’s lecture and, later, when it is closed down because the British authorities worry that…

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