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Mahabharata by William Buck
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Mahabharata (original 1973; edition 2000)

by William Buck

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379340,659 (3.86)19
Member:jeffstan
Title:Mahabharata
Authors:William Buck
Info:University of California Press (2000), Edition: 1, Paperback
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Mahābhārata {retold by William Buck} by Vyasa (1973)

  1. 00
    The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (marq)
    marq: Another retelling of Mahabharata. Palace of Illusions from the point of view of Draupadi.
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A retelling of a classic Indian epic.
  zenosbooks | Sep 9, 2012 |
This is a highly regarded English translation of the Mahabharata.

The Mahabharata is one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India, the other being the Rāmāyaṇa. The epic is part of the Hindu itihāsa (or "history").

Besides its epic narrative of the Kurukshetra War and the fates of the Kauravas and the Pandavas, the Mahabharata contains much philosophical and devotional material, such as a discussion of the four "goals of life" or purusharthas (12.161). The latter are enumerated as dharma (right action), artha (purpose), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). Among the principal works and stories that are a part of the Mahabharata are the Bhagavad Gita, the story of Damayanti, an abbreviated version of the Ramayana, and the Rishyasringa, often considered as works in their own right.

Traditionally, the authorship of the Mahabharata is attributed to Vyasa. There have been many attempts to unravel its historical growth and compositional layers. The earliest parts of the text are not appreciably older than around 400 BCE. The text probably reached its final form by the early Gupta period (ca. 4th c. CE). The title may be translated as "the great tale of the Bhārata dynasty". According to the Mahabharata itself, the tale is extended from a shorter version of 24,000 verses called simply Bhārata.

With about one hundred thousand verses, long prose passages, or about 1.8 million words in total, the Mahabharata is roughly ten times the length of the Iliad and Odyssey combined, or about four times the length of the Rāmāyaṇa

About the Author:

William Buck died in 1970 at the age of 37 after more than 15 years of work on the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and the unfinished Harivamsa. Of the two finished books, he wrote, "My method in writing both Mahabharata and Ramayana was to begin with a literal translation from which to extract the story, and then to tell that story in an interesting way that would preserve the spirit and flavor of the original."
  Saraswati_Library | May 19, 2010 |
A nice sized paperback, probably fairly accurate, though certainly trimmed. I personally don't care for Buck much, I find his translations a little bit dry and in an archiac style. It's probably quite accurate, but it's just not fun for me to read. ( )
  bethlakshmi | Oct 3, 2006 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Vyasaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Buck, WilliamEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Nooten, B. A. vanIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Triest, ShirleyIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0520227042, Paperback)

Few works in world literature have inspired so vast an audience, in nations with radically different languages and cultures, as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, two Sanskrit verse epics written some 2,000 years ago.
In Ramayana (written by a poet known to us as Valmiki), William Buck has retold the story of Prince Rama--with all its nobility of spirit, courtly intrigue, heroic renunciation, fierce battles, and triumph of good over evil--in a length and manner that will make the great Indian epics accessible to the contemporary reader.
The same is true for the Mahabharata--in its original Sanskrit, probably the longest Indian epic ever composed. It is the story of a dynastic struggle, between the Kurus and Pandavas, for land. In his introduction, Sanskritist B. A. van Nooten notes, "Apart from William Buck's rendition [no other English version has] been able to capture the blend of religion and martial spirit that pervades the original epic."
Presented accessibly for the general reader without compromising the spirit and lyricism of the originals, William Buck's Ramayana and Mahabharata capture the essence of the Indian cultural heritage.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:27 -0400)

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