Madly after the Muses: Bengali Poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and his Reception of the Graeco-Roman…

Hardcover | May 30, 2013

byAlexander Riddiford

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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 theSanskrit 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 withinnovations 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 Westernclassical 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, drawingon 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.

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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 theSanskrit Ramayana using various Vergilian and Homer...

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.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pagesPublished:May 30, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199699739

ISBN - 13:9780199699735

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Table of Contents

PrefaceAcknowledgementsList of Illustrations1. Madhusudan: a classicizing oeuvre in context2. The Padmabati natak (1860) and the Judgement of Paris3. The Meghnadbadh kabya (1861), Homer's Iliad, and Vergil's Aeneid4. Further receptions of Vergil's Aeneid5. The Birangana kabya (1862) and Ovid's Heroides6. The Hektor-badh (1871) and Homer's IliadConclusion'Above all Greek, above all Roman fame.'Appendix 1Madhusuda' s New Testament examination Script (9th June 1847)Appendix 2Editions of classical textsAppendix 3Judgement scene in Padmabati natakAppendix 4Synopsis of the Padmabati natakAppendix 5Simhal-bijay kabyaAppendix 6Synopsis of the poems of the Birangana kabyaAppendix 7Sources of the Birangana kabya and the HeroidesAppendix 8Preface to the Hektor-badhAppendix 9Madhusudan's Orientalist Indo-EuropeanismBibliographyIndex