These ground-breaking collections offer 200 texts from 11 languages, never before available in English or as a collection, along with a new reading of cultural history that draws on contemporary scholarship on women and on India. This extraordinary body of literature and important documentary resource illuminates the lives of Indian women through 2,600 years of change and extends the historical understanding of literature, feminism, and the making of modern India. The biographical, critical, and bibliographical headnotes in both volumes, supported by an introduction which Anita Desai describes as “intellectually rigorous, challenging, and analytical,” place the writers and their selections within the context of Indian culture and history. Volume II: The Twentieth Century features poetry, fiction, drama, and autobiography by 73 writers born after 1905, some widely appreciated in their own time, others neglected or ignored. These works bring into the scope of literary discussion a whole new range of women’s experiences in and responses to society, politics, desire, marriage, procreation, aging, and death.