This book examines the emplotment of India in the Western literary imagination. Basing her discussion on the reception of an emblematic Sanskrit text, Kalidasa's SAakuntala, Figueira studies how and why this text was distorted in translation, criticism, and adaptation, and isolates the linguistic errors and cultural distortions that can be grouped into trends and patterns. The unique situation of SAakuntala's reception affords the author the opportunity to look at the way Europeans projected their cultural needs upon India.
The author puts into perspective an entire social and intellectual history of Europe's encounter with Indian culture, an examination of its cultural and political consequences, and a philosophical inquiry into differences between Eastern and Western world views.
About the Author
Dorothy M. Figueira is Assistant Professor of Comparative Studies at State University of New York, Stony Brook.
Table of Contents
I. Background and Theoretical Considerations
II. Critical Reception and Methodology
III. Nineteenth-Century Translation Conventions
IV. An Introduction to the Sakuntala
V. Analysis of the Text
Act 5, Verses 1-3
Act 5, Verses 4-6
Act 5, Verses 23-27
VI. Errors in the Host Language: Grammatical Prejudices of the Sanskrit Language and the Horizon of the Text as a Nataka
VII. Dramatic Adaptations
VIII. Traduttore Traditore
IX. India a Source of Inspiration or an Alibi for Despair