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Download The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts (Oxford World's Classics) epub

by Kalidasa,W. J. Johnson

Kalidasa's play about the love of King Dusyanta for Sakuntala, a monastic girl, is the supreme work of Sanskrit drama by its greatest poet and playwright (c.4th century CE). Overwhelmingly erotic in tone and in performance, The Recognition of Sakuntala aimed to produce an experience of aesthetic rapture in the audience, comparable to certain types of mystical experience. The pioneering English translation of Sakuntala in 1789 caused a sensation among European composers and writers (including Goethe), and it continues to be performed around the world. This vibrant new verse translation includes the famous version of the story from the Mahabharata, a poetic and dramatic text in its own right and a likely source for Kalidasa. The introduction discusses the play in the aesthetic and cultural context of ancient India.
Download The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts (Oxford World's Classics) epub
ISBN: 019283911X
ISBN13: 978-0192839114
Category: Other
Subcategory: Humanities
Author: Kalidasa,W. J. Johnson
Language: English
Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (November 15, 2001)
Pages: 192 pages
ePUB size: 1299 kb
FB2 size: 1883 kb
Rating: 4.3
Votes: 931
Other Formats: lrf azw rtf mobi

Yellow Judge
The original translation by Sir William Jones of this famous Indian play was popular accross Europe and read by prominant poets including Goethe and Schiller in the late 1700's. Sir William Jones was also a member of Samuel Johnson and Edmund Burke's politically influentual Literary Club and the translation by him, this is not it, was a small hit across Europe. It inspired some stylist influence upon Goethe and Goethe must have read this about the time of the end of his "Italian Journey" where he later gained some creative energy after a dry spell following the massive success of his "Sorrows of Young Werther". (Sir William Jones is most famous today for observing that the similarities in Latin, Sanskrit, Persian, English and other, now called, Indo-European languages could not be just an accident).

This modern translation by W.J. Johnson is a good effort; however, for a variety of reasons loses something in translation as it was written to be performed in at least two languages, Sanskrit and Prakrit, and also involved a lot of body language which at times was almost like a dance. Sir William Jones' translation is more vibrant and historically relevant, and other translations of his of Oriental translations as well as original poems, had an impact on 17th and 18th century European literature.

Jones was a romantic supporter of the American revolution, even meeting with Benjamin Franklin in Paris to attempt a resolution to the crisis and play Franklin a game of chess. Jones' most famous and widely popular poem, while he was alive, was "Caissa, or, The Game of Chess" which would have gotten Jones through many important doors and meetings.

The play "Sakuntala" was written in the 4th or 5th century CE in India and is considered one of India's great plays. It is interesting for the cultural attitudes of India at that time, especially the strong class system, and making comparisons with other cultures around the world. Never-the-less The play still holds its own in translation as something many readers might find poetically brilliant, entertaining, and also funny.

Byron was also a youthful reader of Jones and there are a lot of stylistic similarities between them. Byron even wrote a parady of some of Jones' poems in his youth.

Jones spent his later life, in India, assisting in setting up a legal system for India which Jones insisted should be based in large part on Indian culture and customs. Jones represents a more early liberal, respecting relationship with the colonies of India; not the heavy-handed British paternal one that was to dominate that relationship after Jones' death.

Goethe[[ASIN:0140442332 Italian Journey: 1786-1788 (Penguin Classics)

The Life of Samuel Johnson (Penguin Classics)

Sir William Jones: Selected poetical and prose works - University of Wales Press (Not carried by Amazon)

(When universities teach diversity they should also teach it from the perspective of history; my professors acted like the 60's generation discovered multiculturialism and cultural appreciation. Why wouldn't a society that appriciates other culturals know the name of Sir William Jones? To me it points at some decrepidy that we don't).
Kalidasa is India's greatest Sanskrit poet and playwright. Many centuries after his death, his commitment has not flinched to remain India's most respected bard. When you've read world's greatest plays, you must then read this play for the proverbial dessert. For most people, drama was invented in Greece, yet Kalidasa didn't know that, being apart by sea and time. So far as he is concerned, he was as much an inventor of this art, as were his more famous counterparts.
`Recognition of Sakuntala' is a beautiful love story of a married king with a country girl, his deserting her and eventually reclaiming back, with the aid of providence.
I've several translations of this play, but Johnson's version is probably the best - at least in English.
If Shakespeare or Tolstoy or Munshi Premchand gratify you, Kalidasa will as much.
The Recognition of Sakuntala (Abhijñānaśākuntalam) belongs on any list of the world's greatest works of literature. This translation is positively vibrant! The work can easily be read in a single sitting and is well-worth the effort. This edition contains a good introduction to help explain the work's history and also includes the full text of the episode in the Mahabharata that served as the play's inspiration.
A towering classic of Indic literature, so glad to have finally read it! Unlike other classics, approachable and readable; have definitely increased my interest in getting to know Indic lit better!
Great book. Worked very well for me and my world literature class! Bad part is I have to write unnecessary words here :-(
Let us muse on perfect beauty, an image cast before us by the poet, an image that can only make the heart sing. This beauty is not skin-deep, but informed by a spiritual upbringing and a strong sense of righteousness, compassion, and propriety. Yes, the king, musing with us, is taken by this beauty, this perfect body and soul, so much so that his jester and his general enjoy some great laughs and good times at the expense of the poor regal sap. Yet somehow, despite the ernest ridiculousness of his passion, a deeper bond is forged between the king and the beauty.

Unfortunately, duty calls the king, and Sakuntala, the beauty, while lost in her love, fails in her duties to a visiting sage and is cursed by that sage; the irony (for curses are always ironic) being that as she failed to properly recognize the sage, her beloved shall fail to recognize her. Her failure shall lead to more; the beautiful tapestry shall unravel, and we must call on the commoners and the gods to weave it back together.

From these twisted together circumstances, rival duties and deeply felt emotions, the story of the birth of Bharata is crafted. Bharata is the ultimate ancestor of the warring factions in the Mahabharata and, in a deeply symbolic sense, the father of India. Bharata is a bastard born of the mixing of castes, the violations of duties, and the trickery of people and gods - what other culture has such a proudly sullied heritage?

Kalidasa writes with great humor, some bawdy, some sublime, as he runs his characters through a series of conflicting duties and hapless missteps that are more fundamental to the identities of the characters than even Romeo and Juliet. It is a work that reaches across the Millennia to speak to me in a way otherwise done, in drama, only by four Greeks. For the first Europeans to discover Sakuntala, the play raised fundamental aesthetic questions, rending the old Aristotelian based classifications by drawing out dramatic tension in a way neither comedy nor tragedy attempted. We will not see such sophisticated humor on the European stages, certainly, for almost 1000 years after Sakuntala, and, then, we see it only sparingly and occassionally.

Reading Sakuntala today is a uniquely engaging experience, since the interpretation of the recognition of Sakuntala so entwines both our European and the Indian traditions. There is a morass of difficult but fascinating questions about how we relate to and understand literature bound up in the simplicity and beauty of this story. For me, a western reader, the story may not naturally be in my literary dna; references to particular dieties, old stories, and occassionally concepts require explication, and the structure of the work itself, with it's tendancy to pause to let us take in a scene full of symbolism, full of references, and laden with emotion challenges a tendancy in Western drama to just keep getting on with it. Thus, there are ways in which this play challenges the way I look at and think of drama just as much as many modern works (isn't Godot nothing but a pause?), or many works that hide in the forgotten branches of the Western cannon. There is an almost operatic element that has been purged from Western drama, and that we studiously ignore in staging the Greeks. There are also ways in which this play speaks quite directly to "our" cannon: we see the chorus, the theatrical asides, the jester so beloved by the Elizabethans. The pondering of this play thus involves all the questions of similiarty and difference among cultures, questions of cultural identity and fusion, of universality and locality, of this, of that, of whatever and all else - no end to the pesky yet necessary and inevitable questions.

Still, don't we have to set some of those questions aside, still the cacophony in our heads, and just read, and enjoy what is a marvelous tale? And it is, indeed, a marvelous tale. We must find a staging.