Product ID: 3661

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Author: William Buck
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass
Year: 2006
Language: English
Pages: 417
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8120817192


A book that both scholars and the larger public will do well to read attentively, as no other recent translator in America has clambered so high on this epic mountainside.

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.


The Mahabharata is an Indian epic, in its original Sanskrit probably the largest ever composed. Combined with the Ramayana, it embodies the essence of the Indian cultural heritage... The Mahabharata is an absorbing tale of a feud between two branches of a single Indian ruling family that culminates in a vast cataclysmic battle... Buck has retold the story so that that the modern reader will not be discouraged from knowing and loving the stories as he did himself. - Focus on Asian Studies Newsletter

Buck captures a spirit which is lacking in the more literal and complete translation; there is a poetry of expression, an atmosphere of awe, a liveliness of appreciation..Buck captures much of the beauty of the Sanskrit thought... a pleasure to read and to look at; the many illustrations by Shirely Triest have a magical quality in total harmony with the magic of the text. - Times Literary Supplement

Buck was well justified in his undertaking and qualified to perform it... we are fortunate indeed to have the new rendering... Buck wins a distinguished place among translators from Sanskrit verse. No other recent translator in America has clambered so high on this speic mountainside. - Asian Student