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Abhijnanashakuntalam: The Recognition of Shakuntala

Kalidasa (Author) Vinay Dharwadker (Translator) Penguin Classics

Kalidasa s most famous play refashions an episode from the Mahabharata, magnificently dramatizing the love story of Shakuntala, a girl of semi-divine origin, and Dushyanta, a noble human king. After their brief and passionate but secret union at her father s forest ashram, Dushyanta must return to his capital. He gives Shakuntala his signet ring, promising to make her his queen when she joins him later. But, placed unawares under a curse, he forgets her and she loses the ring that would have enabled him to recognize her. Will the lovers be reunited? The world s first full-length play centred on a comprehensive love story, The Recognition of Shakuntala is an undisputed classic of the ancient period. Vinay Dharwadker s sparkling new translation is the definitive poetic rendering of this romantic-heroic comedy for the twenty-first century stage. His absorbing commentary and notes give contemporary readers an unparalleled opportunity to savour the riches of a timeless text.

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About the authors


Kalidasa is one of the greatest classical Sanskrit poets and dramatists of ancient India, but very little is known about his life and time. The writings of Kalidasa reveal that he was a pious Brahmana of Ujjain, and had acquired a knowledge of the various branches of Brahmanical learning. His versatile genius, his acquaintance with court etiquette, his shrewdness, his modesty, not without a due sense of self-respect, and his poetic talent are very well reflected in all his works, which are: Malavikagnimitra, Vikramorvasiya, Abhijnana-Sakuntala (dramas) and poems like Raghuvamsa, Kumarasambhava and Meghaduta. Both in drama and poetry, Kalidasa stands not only unsurpassed but even unrivalled.

Vinay Dharwadker

Vinay Dharwadker was born in Pune in 1954, and was educated at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and the University of Chicago. He is the author of a book of poems, Sunday at the Lodi Gardens (1994), and an editor of The Oxford Anthology of Modern Indian Poetry (1994), a co-editor of The Collected Poems of A.K. Ramanujan (1995), and the general editor of The Collected Essays of A.K. Ramanujan (1999). His other edited books include Cosmopolitan Geographies: New Locations in Literature and Culture (2001). He has published translations of modern Hindi, Marathi, Urdu and Punjabi poetry, as well as essays on literary theory, translation studies and Indian English literature. He teaches Indian languages and literatures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also serves as the Director of the Centre for South Asia.

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Bibliographic information

Title Abhijnanashakuntalam: The Recognition of Shakuntala
Format Hardcover
Date published: 20.08.2016
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9780670087464
length xxix+347p., 21cm.