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Fresh Translations From Sanskrit Showcase Classical Indian Literaure

July 2007
Fresh Translations From Sanskrit Showcase Classical Indian Literaure

"The Clay Sanskrit has begun to make the great works of Indian classical literature available in handy Loeb-sized volumes," notes Pankaj Mishra in the U.K.-based Guardian. "In addition to new translations of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, I was struck by the modernity of What Ten Young Men Did, a Bildungsroman from eighth-century South India." Jointly launched in 2005 by New York University Press and the John and Jennifer Clay Foundation, the series already has 28 volumes, with four more on the way this year. For its target of 100 volumes, to be reached within four years, 44 leading scholars—Sheldon Pollack, Wendy Doniger and Richard Gombrich being some notable examples—across 10 countries have been producing definitive translations that are meant to last and also appeal to readers both inside and outside the academic world. A unique feature of these books, whose focus is not restricted to literary works, is that alongside the new translation on the right page, the original text (transliterated into English from Sanskrit) appears on the corresponding left page. The Mahabharata alone, when completed, will come to 32 volumes. Book nine of this grand epic, along with Rama's Last Act (an early dramatic revision of the Ramayana's last episode involving the rejection of Sita), will be released in August this year.

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