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The Slaying of Meghanada
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About the Author

Clinton B. Seely is Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is the author of A Poet Apart: A Literary Biography of the Bengali Poet Jibanananda Das, 1899-1954 (1990) and several other books.

Reviews

"Clinton Seely's volume is a gift to all who teach in English about any aspect of South Asian culture." --Journal of Religion "Clinton B. Seely's elegant, masterful translation of Meghanadavadha Kavya into English will enable the poem's dissemination to a wider audience and will be particularly useful as a teaching resource in course on South Asian literature, culture, and history. The exquisiteness of Seely's prose in this translation of Datta's extremely, compelling poem is reason enough to peruse this volume. Will be highly welcomed by students and scholars of South Asia." --Journal of Asian History "[A] seemless translation. Datta's tale ingeniously mingles South Asian literary aesthetics with Miltonic-style poetics and whiffs of Dante, Byron, and wily Homer. The unexpected result is a new interculturally resonant version, tangled by themes of filial love, obligation, and ultimately, self-sacrifice that echo with a moral grandeur worthy of a Greek tragedy. Why Datta, a devout Anglophile and a formative Indian nationalist, attempted the Parnassian challenge is masterfully explained in Seely's deep biographical introduction to the poet's life and times, which readers will find especially illuminating."--CHOICE "Clinton Seely's volume is a gift to all who teach in English about any aspect of South Asian culture." --Journal of Religion "Clinton B. Seely's elegant, masterful translation of Meghanadavadha Kavya into English will enable the poem's dissemination to a wider audience and will be particularly useful as a teaching resource in course on South Asian literature, culture, and history. The exquisiteness of Seely's prose in this translation of Datta's extremely, compelling poem is reason enough to peruse this volume. Will be highly welcomed by students and scholars of South Asia." --Journal of Asian History "Clinton B. Seely's scholarly English translation of Michael Madhusudan Datta's nineteenth-century magnum opus, Meghanadavadh Kavya boldy empathizes with the poet's eloquent vision in creating a Bengali mahakavya in a Miltonic style. In addition to providing a useful glossary and notes, Seely offers an extensive introduction to the literary and social contexts of Datta's eventful life. Seely's unique translation will appeal to the lay reader as well as scholars and critics of South Asia."--Journal of Asian Studies "[A] seemless translation. Datta's tale ingeniously mingles South Asian literary aesthetics with Miltonic-style poetics and whiffs of Dante, Byron, and wily Homer. The unexpected result is a new interculturally resonant version, tangled by themes of filial love, obligation, and ultimately, self-sacrifice that echo with a moral grandeur worthy of a Greek tragedy. Why Datta, a devout Anglophile and a formative Indian nationalist, attempted the Parnassian challenge is masterfully explained in Seely's deep biographical introduction to the poet's life and times, which readers will find especially illuminating."--CHOICE "This is a landmark book, indispensable to students of literature and modernity in colonial South Asia. It consolidates Seely's reputation as one of the finest contemporary translators of Bengali into English. A truly remarkable achievement."--Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago "Segments of the narrative of the Ramayana frequently mutate into variant versions and each retelling reflects an adaptation to yet another language, another community and another historical moment. The Meghanadavadha kavya captures some intersections of Indian and European cultures in the nineteenth century. Clinton Seely's translation evokes the potential of this historical moment and also of the epic genre, both of which resonate with the perceptions of Michael Madhusudan Datta."--Romila Thapar, Jawaharlal Nehru University "This book is a polished gem, a sparkling gift of translation and contextualization from Clinton B. Seely--legendary teacher, speaker, and translator--to all students of Bengal, colonial history, Ramayana studies, and Indian literature. The Slaying of Meghanada, Seely's artistic rendition of Michael Madhusudan Datta's classic Bengali version of the Ramayana, invites us to understand and feel, with Datta and through Seely, the particularly Bengali pathos of a doomed, humanized, agonized Ravana. Here is a text for our times, where Rama is not the hero.--Rachel Fell McDermott, Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures, Barnard College

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