Ramayana

Ramayana

By (author) Valmiki , By (author) William Buck , Illustrated by Shirley Triest , Volume editor William Buck , Introduction by B. A. van Nooten

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Few works in world literature have inspired so vast an audience, in nations with radically different languages and cultures, as the "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata", two Sanskrit verse epics written some 2,000 years ago. In "Ramayana" (written by a poet known to us as Valmiki), William Buck has retold the story of Prince Rama - with all its nobility of spirit, courtly intrigue, heroic renunciation, fierce battles, and triumph of good over evil - in a length and manner that will make the great Indian epics accessible to the contemporary reader.The same is true for the "Mahabharata" - in its original Sanskrit, probably the longest Indian epic ever composed. It is the story of a dynastic struggle, between the Kurus and Pandavas, for land. In his introduction, Sanskritist B. A. van Nooten notes, "Apart from William Buck's rendition [no other English version has] been able to capture the blend of religion and martial spirit that pervades the original epic." Presented accessibly for the general reader without compromising the spirit and lyricism of the originals, William Buck's "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata" capture the essence of the Indian cultural heritage.

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  • Paperback | 461 pages
  • 137.16 x 205.74 x 27.94mm | 498.95g
  • 13 Nov 2000
  • University of California Press
  • Berkerley
  • English
  • 40 illustrations, 1 map
  • 0520227034
  • 9780520227033
  • 758,267

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Author Information

William Buck died in 1970 at the age of 37 after more than 15 years of work on the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the unfinished Harivamsa. Of the two finished books, 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."

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Review quote

"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 the "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

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Review text

Buck, who died in 1970, left translations of the Sanskrit epics the Mabharata (published in 1973) and Valmiki's Ramayana. This prose version for a lay rather than a scholarly audience, rearranges and simplifies the structure of the original in the interest of narrative clarity. Shirley Triest contributes some 25 full pen-and-ink illustrations, plus some smaller decorations. (Kirkus Reviews)

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