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Riddiford: Madly after the Muses

Riddiford, Alexander:
Madly after the Muses : Bengali Poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and his Reception of the Graeco-Roman Classics / Alexander Riddiford. - Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013. - xix, 274 S. : Ill. - (Classical Presences)
ISBN 978-0-19-969973-5
£ 63,00 / US$ 110,00
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699735.001.0001
DDC: 891.4414

Madly after the Muses examines the use of Graeco-Roman samplings in the Bengali works of Michael Madhusudan Datta (1824-1873), the nineteenth-century poet and playwright. His oeuvre, which includes a Bengali play dramatizing a Hindu version of the Judgement of Paris, a retelling of the Sanskrit Ramayana using various Vergilian and Homeric tropes, a Hindu response to Ovid's Heroides, and a Bengali prose version of the first half of Homer's Iliad, utilize the Greek and Roman classics in a surprising and subversive way. Though steeped in contemporary British literary culture, Madhusudan's Bengali works bypassed the literary trends of his British contemporaries and, most strikingly, used the Western classics to defy the hegemonic elite culture of the Hindu pundits. He treated traditional Hindu material with innovations inspired by the literature of the Graeco-Roman world, and provided an Orientalist Indo-European reading of the ancient cultures of India and Europe. By subverting contemporary British constructions of what constituted 'classical', he also highlighted counter-currents within the Western classical discourse.
   In this volume, Riddiford introduces new texts and contexts to the fields of classical reception and postcolonial scholarship, and includes appendices with translated excerpts from Bengali works not previously translated into English. He also examines the Bengali poet's classical education, drawing on new material from various archives to show that he was given a rigorous British-style classical education, offering a surprising early chapter in the story of the dissemination and reception of the Graeco-Roman classics in India. [Verlagsinformation]

List of Illustrations. xiv
Note on the Transliteration of Bengali and Sanskrit into Roman Script. xvii
1. Madhusudan: a Classicizing Oeuvre in Context. 1
2. The Padmābatī nāṭak (1860) and the Judgement of Paris. 62
3. The Meghnādbadh kābya (1861), Homer's Iliad, and Vergil's Aeneid. 93
4. Further Receptions of Vergil's Aeneid. 122
5. The Bīrāṅganā kābya (1862) and Ovid's Heroides. 140
6: The Hekṭor-badh (1871) and Homer's Iliad. 167
Conclusion: 'Above all Greek, above all Roman Fame'. 189
Appendix 1: Madhusudan's New Testament examination Script (9th June 1847). 204
Appendix 2: Editions of Classical Texts Possibly Encountered by Madhusudan. 219
Appendix 3: Judgement Scene in Padmābatī nāṭak. 224
Appendix 4: Synopsis of the Padmābatī nāṭak. 230
Appendix 5: Siṃhal-bijay kābya. 235
Appendix 6: Synopsis of the poems of the Bīrāṅganā kābya. 237
Appendix 7: Sources of the Bīrāṅganā kābya and the Heroides. 241
Appendix 8: Preface to the Hekṭor-badh. 242
Appendix 9: Madhusudan's Orientalist Indo-Europeanism. 246
Bibliography. 247
Index. 269


ALEXANDER RIDDIFORD, Barrister of the Inner Temple, England. Alexander Riddiford studied Classics and Sanskrit at Magdalen College, Oxford. Having left academia in 2009 to qualify as a barrister, he was awarded Inner Temple's top scholarships two years in a row before being called to the Bar of England and Wales in 2011. Profile page.

Quellen: Oxford University Press (UK); WorldCat; Bookbutler; Library of Congress; Google Books
Bildquelle: Oxford University Press (UK)
Bibliographie: [1]