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aNow an ambitious new publishing project, the Clay Sanskrit Library brings together leading Sanskrit translators and scholars of Indology from around the world to celebrate in translating the beauty and range of classical Sanskrit literature. . . . Published as smart green hardbacks that are small enough to fit into a jeans pocket, the volumes are meant to satisfy both the scholar and the lay reader. Each volume has a transliteration of the original Sanskrit texton the left-hand page and an English translation on the right, as also a helpful introduction and notes. Alongside definitive translations of the great Indian epics -- 30 or so volumes will be devoted to the Maha-bharat itself -- Clay Sanskrit Library makes available to the English-speaking reader many other delights: The earthy verse of Bhartri-hari, the pungent satire of Jayanta Bhatta and the roving narratives of Dandin, among others. All these writers belong properly not just to Indian literature, but to world literature.a
aThe Clay Sanskrit Library has recently set out to change the scene by making available well-translated dual-language (English and Sanskrit) editions of popular Sanskritic texts for the public.a
"The Dark Age Ridiculed," by Nila-kantha, "Beguiling Artistry," by Kshemendra, "The Hundred Allegories," by Bhallata
Written over a period of nearly a thousand years, these works show three very different approaches to satire. Nila-kantha gets straight to the point: swindlers prey on stupidity.
The artistry that beguiles Kshemendra is as varied as human nature and just as fallible. We are off to a gentle start Sanctimonious--really no more than a warm-up among vices--but soon graduate to Greed and Lust. From there it's downhill all the way, as unfaithfulness leads on to fraud, and drunkenness to depravity; deception and quackery bring up the rear. What's this at the very end? Virtue? A late arrival, pale and unconvincing.
This volume presents three Indian satirists with three different strategies: in the ninth century C.E., Bhallata sought vengeance on his boorish new king by producing vicious sarcastic verse, "The HundredAllegories;" in the eleventh century, Kshemendra presents himself as a social reformer out to shame the complacent into compliance with Vedic morality; and in the seventeenth century little can redeem the fallen characters Nila-kantha portrays, so his duty is simply to warn about the corruption of every social type.
Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation
For more on this title and other titles in the Clay Sanskrit series, please visit http: //www.claysanskritlibrary.org
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