Gateway To Indian Classical Literature
With 5,000 years of history, India is a culture united by diversity. Her literary traditions reflect her glory and heritage. Today, great works like Ramayana, Mahabharata and Jataka Tales echo throughout the world, having been portrayed in diverse art forms.
Writings of the Indian subcontinent can be found in no less than 17 languages, and the scope of Indian literature is too vast to cover in its entirety. Nonetheless, we hope to provide in this volume a glimpse into Indian’s ancient, pre-medieval and post-medieval literature.
Gateway to Indian Classical Literature features the most famous poets and writers who not only influenced the masses but founded entirely new schools of thought. Each section introduces the seminal works of each era, and addresses its influence on contemporary literature. Through these pages, you will be transported into the world of deities and demons, light and darkness, and India’s greatest aspirations and thoughts.
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Mirza Waheed’s extraordinary new novel The Book of Gold Leaves is a heartbreaking love story set in war-torn Kashmir. In an ancient house in the city of Srinagar, Faiz paints exquisite Papier Mache pencil boxes for tourists. Evening is beginning to slip into night when he sets off for the shrine. There he finds the woman with the long black hair. Roohi is prostrate before her God. She begs for the boy of her dreams to come and take her away. Roohi wants a love story. An age-old tale of love, war, temptation, duty and choice, The Book of Gold Leaves is a heartbreaking tale of a what might have been, what could have been, if only. “I loved it. The voice is lyrical, to match the beauty of Kashmir, and yet it is tinged with melancholy and grief, as is the story it tells”. (Nadeem Aslam (on The Collaborator)). “Waheed’s prose burns with the fever of anger and despair; the scenes in the valley are exceptional, conveying, a hallucinatory living nightmare that has become an everyday reality for Kashmiris”. (Metro (on The Collaborator)). Mirza Waheed was born and brought up in Kashmir. His debut novel The Collaborator was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Shakti Bhat Prize, and longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize. It was also book of the year for The Telegraph, New Statesman, Financial Times, Business Standard and Telegraph India, among others. Waheed has written for the BBC, The Guardian, Granta, Al Jazeera English and the New York Times. He lives in London.
The splendour and richness of Chinese classical literature encompasses a dazzling range, from poetry, rhymed prose and eaasy to drama and novels, with outstanding representative works in each genre.
Despite the passage of time, these works remain fresh and relevant today. The immortals lines from Li Bai’s ‘Reflections on a Quiet Night’, “Raising my head, I look at the bright moon; Hanging my head, I think of home,” continue to strike a chord in the heart of many a traveller far from home, while the tragedy in The Dream of the Red Chamber is still able to move us deeply.
Using illustrations and lucid exposition of the various styles of classical Chinese literature, this book takes the reader on a tour of the Chinese literary world and provides a valuable insight into the Chinese civilisation.
“The Story of the Stone” (c. 1760) is one of the greatest novels of Chinese literature. The first part of the story, The Golden Days, begins the tale of Bao-yu, a gentle young boy who prefers girls to Confucian studies, and his two cousins: Bao-chai, his parents’ choice of a wife for him, and the ethereal beauty Dai-yu. Through the changing fortunes of the Jia family, this rich, magical work sets worldly events – love affairs, sibling rivalries, political intrigues, even murder – within the context of the Buddhist understanding that earthly existence is an illusion and karma determines the shape of our lives.
Anthony C. Yu’s translation of The Journey to the West,initially published in 1983, introduced English-speaking audiences to the classic Chinese novel in its entirety for the first time. Written in the sixteenth century, The Journey to the West tells the story of the fourteen-year pilgrimage of the monk Xuanzang, one of China’s most famous religious heroes, and his three supernatural disciples, in search of Buddhist scriptures. Throughout his journey, Xuanzang fights demons who wish to eat him, communes with spirits, and traverses a land riddled with a multitude of obstacles, both real and fantastical. An adventure rich with danger and excitement, this seminal work of the Chinese literary canonis by turns allegory, satire, and fantasy.
With over a hundred chapters written in both prose and poetry, The Journey to the West has always been a complicated and difficult text to render in English while preserving the lyricism of its language and the content of its plot. But Yu has successfully taken on the task, and in this new edition he has made his translations even more accurate and accessible. The explanatory notes are updated and augmented, and Yu has added new material to his introduction, based on his original research as well as on the newest literary criticism and scholarship on Chinese religious traditions. He has also modernized the transliterations included in each volume, using the now-standard Hanyu Pinyin romanization system. Perhaps most important, Yu has made changes to the translation itself in order to make it as precise as possible.
One of the great works of Chinese literature, The Journey to the West is not only invaluable to scholars of Eastern religion and literature, but, in Yu’s elegant rendering, also a delight for any reader.