Author: William Buck
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120817206
For the purposes of the general reader, the book is flawless: a marvelous tale, told with all the elan of a Tolkien, charmingly but unobtrusively illustrated.
In 1955, William Buck discovered an elaborate nineteenth-century edition of The Sacred Song of the Lord, the Bhagavad Gita of Lord Krishna in a state library in Carson City, Nevada. Captivated by this find, he plunged into a study of Indian literature spanning years of reading, re-reading the translations, studying Sanskrit .
Midway through his reading, Buck decided the Ramayana and Mahabharata should be re-written for a modern English-speaking audience. His aim was to make it possible for contemporary readers to know the Ramayana in terms meaningful for modern times, as well as in terms of its origins. Of the finished manuscripts he wrote: My method in writing both Mahabharata and Ramayana was to begin with a literal translation from which to extract the story, and then to tell that story in an interesting way that would preserve the spirit and flavor of the original. My motive is therefore that of the storyteller.
EXCERPTS FROM REVIEWS:
To say the Ramayana is one of the great epics of India may be a misleading understatement, for it is of far greater importance to India than the Greek epics are to Western thought. The Ramayana and Mahabharata make up the framework of the Hindu religious, cultural and social imagination . . Buck has succeeded better than anyone else in conveying the spirit of the original. - Choice
Buck has done a real service in making available to the English-speaking world this incomparable Indian epic. - The Virginia Quarterly Review
The task of presenting a faithful image of the original is here on the whole fulfilled to a truly remarkable degree . . To call it inspired is no overstatement. - The Asian Student .