The Purananuru - Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom

The Purananuru - Four Hundred Songs of War and Wisdom

Product ID: 9659

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Author: Eminent Contributors
Translator: George L Hart / Hank Heifetz
Publisher: Penguin
Year: 2002
Language: English
Pages: 397
ISBN/UPC (if available): 0143028979


The Purananuru, an anthology of poems from Classical Tamil, is one of the oldest Tamil anthologies extant, and was compiled almost two thousand years ago, between the first and third centuries CE. One of the eight Sangam anthologies, it consists of four hundred poems, of more than 150 poets. This translation is the first complete English-language edition of the anthology.

One of the few classical works that confronts life without a philosophical façade, making no basic assumptions about Karma and the afterlife, the Purananuru has universal appeal. Unique for its freshness and directness of expression, its poems delve into the mysteries of living and dying, despair, love, poverty, and the changeable nature of existence, vividly depicting life in pre-Aryan southern India.

Authentic and accessible, this exceptional rendering by a distinguished Tamil scholar and a noted poet will delight scholars and lay readers alike.


This translation is a remarkable achievement, at once eloquent and immensely moving, and deserving unstinting praise.
- R Parthasarathy, translator of the Cilappatikaram


GEORGE L HART is a professor in the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the translator and editor of Poets of the Tamil Anthologies: Ancient Poems of Love and War and author, with Hank Heifetz, of the Forest Book of the Ramayana of Kampan

HANK HEIFETZ received a Ph. D in South and Southeast Asian Studies from Berkeley and is a poet and translator from the Spanish, Sanskrit and Tamil. His translations include The origin of the Young God: Kalidasa's Kumarasambhava and Mexico: Biography of Power by Enrque Krauze.


Short Guide to Tamil Pronunciation

Poet's Preface: HANK HEIFETZ

Introduction: GEORGE HART

The Purananuru

Notes to the Purananuru

APPENDIX: A Guide to the Contents of the Purananuru

Abbreviations and Editions Used

Annotated Bibliography