Valmiki's Ramayana (Paperback)Arshia Sattar (translated with commentary by)
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Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Number of pages: 562
Weight: 739 g
Dimensions: 228 x 151 x 30 mm
Of all the many translations of the Ramayana into English, Arshia Sattar's is the only one that is both accurate and a pleasure to read. It is true to the Sanskrit but also true to the spirit of the original text, revealing meanings and overtones that other translators have missed or edited out for political reasons. The language is contemporary, bringing the moral complexities of the characters to life in ways that show how very relevant they still are to life in India today. -- Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago
There are many Ramayanas in English, and some of them follow Valmiki's narrative faithfully, but their English is wooden, unreadable, and opaque. Other texts are written in modern English but they deviate from Valmiki. Arshia Sattar's retelling is a lone exception. Her one-volume abridged telling of the Ramayana brings Valmiki's narrative faithfully and beautifully to the English audience. Dr. Sattar is a formidable Sanskrit scholar who writes expressive English prose, two qualities rarely combined in one person. Her reading of Valmiki is sensitively interpretive, but more significantly she hears the music of Valmiki's text, which she effectively brings to her English prose-an extraordinary achievement indeed. Narrative faithfulness could easily be mechanical, but Sattar avoids it by close attention to the aesthetic liveliness of Valmiki's text. This is the best Valmiki in English, and a most rewarding read for anyone who enjoys a superb story that has lasted centuries. -- Velcheru Narayana Rao, author of Text and Tradition in South India
Arshia Sattar's vibrant translation succeeds in drawing out the enchantment that this timeless story has held for countless audiences across centuries. With remarkable skill, Sattar navigates the challenge of making the text and sentiments of a nearly three-thousand-year-old story speak to a modern sensibility without losing the distinctive poetic flavor of the Valmiki text. Her critical introduction, written lucidly and beautifully, engages the major issues that come with translating a text that is also a diverse, living tradition. Arshia Sattar's insightful analysis of the salient features and themes of this text makes this edition itself a classic. -- Leela Prasad, Duke University
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