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Damodaragupta: The Bawd's Counsel

Dāmodaraguptaviracitaṃ Kuṭṭanīmatam = The Bawd's Counsel : Being a Eighth-Century Verse Novel / by Dāmodaragupta. Newly ed. and transl. into English by Csaba Dezső and Dominic Goodall. - Groningen : Egbert Forsten, 2012. - 424 S. - (Groningen Oriental Studies ; 23)
Einheitssachtitel: Kuṭṭanīmata <Sanskrit, engl.>
ISBN 978-90-6980-158-2
EUR 75,00
DDC: 891.21

In this unique verse novel, The Bawd's Counsel, Dâmodaragupta paints a vivid tableau of eighth-century urban life in Northern India. Instead of the gods, sages and heroes of legend that people the Sanskrit literary epics, here gurus, princes and merchants jostle upon the streets of Benares, Patna and in the gardens of Mount Abu with bawds, prostitutes, rakes and rustics, and they are shown grappling with matters of life, death, love, lovelessness and livelihood.
   These mortal actors have been woven into tales that are narrated with considerable grace and wit. The author, a minister at the court of a Kashmirian king, evinces particular empathy with those who have drawn the shortest straws—the abandoned prostitute in love, for instance, or the married woman seduced into a socially ruinous adulterous relationship. Caustically irreverent humour, meanwhile, is meted out to religious hypocrites, to the tiresomely self-important, and to men of rank with more money than sense.
   In spite of the intrinsic interest of the work—both as a piece of literature and as a document of the social history of its time—it has not received much attention in recent years, either in India or elsewhere. A German translation of an incomplete nineteenth-century edition was published in 1903, which was in turn rendered into French and the French then into English, and there have been translations into Hungarian and Japanese.
   This volume, which contains not only a fresh edition that draws on a hitherto unconsulted Nepalese palm-leaf manuscript of the thirteenth century, but also a metrical English translation, aims to bring this novel to the wider audience it deserves. [Verlagsinformation]

Herausgeber und Übersetzer
CSABA DEZSÕ, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. Profile page.
DOMINIC GOODALL is currently a professor (directeur d’études) at the EFEO posted in Paris, where he gives lectures at the École Pratique des Hautes Études. Profile (EFEO).

Quellen: Egbert Forsten; Mitteilung in der Mailing-Liste "Indology", vom 11.12.2012
Bildquelle: Walters Art Museum [Public domain, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons
Bibliographie: [1]