Sakoontala, Or, the Lost Ring An Indian Drama Translated Into English Prose and Verse, From the Sanskrit of Kalidasa
by Kalidasa ; Sir Monier Monier-Williams
New York: Dodd, Mead and Company. Very Good+. 1885. First American Edition. Hardcover. xx,  & 236 pages; Publisher's blue cloth, gilt stamped with English title stamped in gilt on the spine, Sanskrit title (in Devanagari letters) stamped in gilt on the front cover. Top edges of the leaves carefully opened, fore and bottom edges trimmed rough. An excellent copy of the trade edition of this handsome edition, printed by the press of Theodore L. De Vinne in New York. Translated by Sir Monier Monier-Williams This is the second major translation into English of this play, considered the masterpiece of the innovator of Sanskrit drama - Kalidasa. Modern transliteration into Roman letters usually calls this play: Abhijñanashakuntala (which literally translated means "pertaining to token-recognized-S'akuntala-"). Kalidasa's text is a dramatic rendering of the story of Shakuntala told in the epic Mahabharata. The first translation of the play was an English version made by Sir William Jones in 1789. This translation was made by Monier Williams [1819-1899], who was born in Bombay, was educated at King's College School, Balliol College, Oxford (1838-40), the East India Company College (1840-41) and University College, Oxford (1841-44). At the time he first published this translation, in 1855, Monier Williams taught Asian languages at the East India Company College. After the rebellion of 1857 ended the East India Company's rule, he returned to England, where he successfully stood against Max Müller in the 1860 election campaign for the Boden Chair of Sanskrit at Oxford University. By the time this handsome American edition of his 'Sakoontala' was published, Monier Williams had a long list of accompishments. He had created a Sanskrit-English dictionary that is still in print, had been Knighted (1876), had founded the Oxford University's Indian Institute (1883), and had acquired a list of academic honors too long for this note. Shortly afterwards, he was made a Knight Commander of the Indian Empire (1887) and confused librarians and cataloguers for alll time by adding his given name to his surname. This splendid edition from the noted De Vinne press has color-lithographic vignettes at the head of the Introduction, the Notes and each of the six acts of this version of Kalidasa's play. (There were 110 copies on special paper with each page set within a decorative border). The only mark in this excellent copy is a brief former owner's pencil signature (in Sanskrit/Devanagari letters) on the front free endpaper. The binding is clean and tight, and shows only the faintest evidence of light rubbing at the corners, spine ends, and two tiny points along the front hinge. OCLC Number: 2754219. . (Inventory #: 39627)
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