Dutt, Toru

Dutt, Toru (1856 - 1877)


Toru Dutt was born on March 4, 1856, in Rambagan, 12 Manicktollah Street, Calcutta, to father Govin Chunder Dutt and mother Kshetramoni, a family that become Christians in 1862. Toru was the youngest child, arriving after sister Aru and brother Abju (who died in 1865). Their cousin was the poet and civil servant Romesh Chunder Dutt. Both girls honed their English and French during a four-year residence in England and France, starting in 1869 at the French School at Nice, then in London in 1870, where The Dutt Family Album was published, and last in Cambridge in 1871, where the sisters attended the "Higher Lectures for Women." The family returned in September 1873 to their city house in Rambagan and their garden residence at Baugmaree. Toru produced her first volume of poetry, A Sheaf, in 1876: it held 165 translations from French writers, eight by her sister Aru and the rest by herself, including "My Vocation" by Jean-Pierre de Béranger. After her best friend and sister Aru died of consumption on July 23, 1874, Toru determined to make a "sheaf" of poems for her native culture and proceeded to acquire Sanskrit in 1875-76. Though ill herself, she wrote her Ancient Ballads and Legends at this time. She died on August 30, 1877, also of consumption, and is buried at C. M. S. Cemetery in Calcutta. Her father ensured that her manuscripts -- two novels, one in English and one in French, as well as her new "sheaf" -- were published in London and Paris.


  • Das, Harihar. The Life and Letters of Toru Dutt. London: Oxford University Press, 1921.
  • Dutt, Govin Chunder, Omesh Chunder, Greece Chunder, and Hur Chunder. The Dutt Family Album. London: Longmans, Green, 1870.
  • Dutt, Toru. Ancient Ballads and Legends of Hindustan. Intro. by Edmund Gosse. London: Kegan Paul, 1882. Madras: Kalidas, 1927. PR 4639 .D37A65 1927 Trinity College storage. With an introductory memoir by Amaranatha Jha. Allahabad: Kitabistan, 1969. PR 4639 .D37A65 1969 Robarts Library
  • --. "Bianca, or The Young Spanish Maiden." Bengal Magazine. Jan.-April 1878. [novel]
  • --. Le Journal de Mademoiselle d'Arvers. Paris, 1879. [novel in French]
  • --. A Sheaf Gleaned in French Fields. Bhowarupore: Saptahik Sambad, March 1876. 2nd edn. Ed. Govin Dutt. 1878. 3rd edn. Foreowrd by Arthur Symons. London: Kegan Paul, 1880.
  • Dwivedi, Amar Nath. Toru Dutt. New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, 1977. PR 9499.2 .D88Z63 Robarts Library. Also 1998.
  • Iyengar, K. R. Srinivasa. Indian Writing in English. 2nd edn. Bombay: Asia, 1973. PR 9706 S69 1973
  • Nair, K. R. Ramachandran. Three Indo-Anglian Poets: Henry Derozio, Toru Dutt, and Sarojini Naidu. New Delhi: Sterling, 1987. PR 9490.2 .R36 1987 Robarts Library
Given Name
Family Name
Birth Date
March 4, 1856
Death Date
August 30, 1877
Family Relations
father : Govin Chunder Dutt
mother : Kshetramoni Dutt
sister : Aru Dutt
brother : Abju Dutt
  • French School, Nice

Literary Period
Literary Movement
Cause of Death
First RPO Edition