The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the first volume in what will ultimately become a multi volume edition encompassing all eighteen books.
The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the second volume of van Buitenen's acclaimed translation of the definitive Poona edition of the text. Book two, The Book of the Assembly Hall, is an epic dramatization of the Vedic ritual of consecration that is central to the book. Book three, The Book of the Forest, traces the further episodes of the heroes during their years in exile. Also included are the famous story of Nala, dealing with the theme of love in separation, and the story of Rama, the subject of the other great Sanskrit epic, the Ramayana, as well as other colorful tales.
Manga from the Floating World is the first full-length study in English of the kibyōshi, a genre of woodblock-printed comic book widely read in late-eighteenth-century Japan. By combining analysis of the socioeconomic and historical milieus in which the genre was produced and consumed with three annotated translations of works by major author-artist Santō Kyōden (1761–1816) that closely reproduce the experience of encountering the originals, Adam Kern offers a sustained close reading of the vibrant popular imagination of the mid-Edo period. The kibyōshi, Kern argues, became an influential form of political satire that seemed poised to transform the uniquely Edoesque brand of urban commoner culture into something more, perhaps even a national culture, until the shogunal government intervened.
Based on extensive research using primary sources in their original Edo editions, the volume is copiously illustrated with rare prints from Japanese archival collections. It serves as an introduction not only to the kibyōshi but also to the genre’s readers and critics, narratological conventions, modes of visuality, format, and relationship to the modern Japanese manga and to the popular literature and wit of Edo. Filled with graphic puns and caricatures, these entertaining works will appeal to the general reader as well as to the more experienced student of Japanese cultural history—and anyone interested in the global history of comics, graphic novels, and manga.
In the West, monastic ideals and scholastic pursuits are complementary; monks are popularly imagined copying classics, preserving learning through the Middle Ages, and establishing the first universities. But this dual identity is not without its contradictions. While monasticism emphasizes the virtues of poverty, chastity, and humility, the scholar, by contrast, requires expensive infrastructure—a library, a workplace, and the means of disseminating his work. In The Monk and the Book, Megan Hale Williams argues that Saint Jerome was the first to represent biblical study as a mode of asceticism appropriate for an inhabitant of a Christian monastery, thus pioneering the enduring linkage of monastic identities and institutions with scholarship.
Revisiting Jerome with the analytical tools of recent cultural history—including the work of Bourdieu, Foucault, and Roger Chartier—Williams proposes new interpretations that remove obstacles to understanding the life and legacy of the saint. Examining issues such as the construction of Jerome’s literary persona, the form and contents of his library, and the intellectual framework of his commentaries, Williams shows that Jerome’s textual and exegetical work on the Hebrew scriptures helped to construct a new culture of learning. This fusion of the identities of scholar and monk, Williams shows, continues to reverberate in the culture of the modern university.
"[Williams] has written a fascinating study, which provides a series of striking insights into the career of one of the most colorful and influential figures in Christian antiquity. Jerome's Latin Bible would become the foundational text for the intellectual development of the West, providing words for the deepest aspirations and most intensely held convictions of an entire civilization. Williams's book does much to illumine the circumstances in which that fundamental text was produced, and reminds us that great ideas, like great people, have particular origins, and their own complex settings."—Eamon Duffy, New YorkReview of Books
The Book of the Dead by Muriel Rukeyser was published as part of her 1938 volume U.S.1. The poem, which is probably the most ambitious and least understood work of Depression-era American verse, commemorates the worst industrial accident in U.S. history, the Gauley Tunnel tragedy. In this terrible disaster, an undetermined number of men—likely somewhere between 700 and 800—died of acute silicosis, a lung disorder caused by prolonged inhalation of silica dust, after working on a tunnel project in Fayette County, West Virginia, in the early 1930s.
After many years of relative neglect, The Book of the Dead has recently returned to print and has become the subject of critical attention. In Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Book of the Dead,” Tim Dayton continues that study by characterizing the literary and political world of Rukeyser at the time she wrote The Book of the Dead.
Rukeyser’s poem clearly emerges from 1930s radicalism, as well as from Rukeyser’s deeply felt calling to poetry. After describing the world from which the poem emerged, Dayton sets up the fundamental factual matters with which the poem is concerned, detailing the circumstances of the Gauley Tunnel tragedy, and establishes a framework derived from the classical tripartite division of the genres—epic, lyric, and dramatic. Through this framework, he sees Rukeyser presenting a multifaceted reflection upon the significance, particularly the historical significance, of the Gauley Tunnel tragedy. For Rukeyser, that disaster was the emblem of a history in which those who do the work of the world are denied control of the vast powers they bring into being.
Dayton also studies the critical reception of The Book of the Dead and determines that while the contemporary response was mixed, most reviewers felt that Rukeyser had certainly attempted something of value and significance. He pays particular attention to John Wheelwright’s critical review and to the defenses of Rukeyser launched in the 1980s and 1990s by Louise Kertesz and Walter Kalaidjian. The author also examines the relationship between Marxism as a theory of history governing The Book of the Dead and the poem itself, which presents a vision of history.
Based upon primary scholarship in Rukeyser’s papers, a close reading of the poem, and Marxist theory, Muriel Rukeyser’s “The Book of the Dead” offers a comprehensive and compelling analysis of The Book of the Dead and will likely remain the definitive work on this poem.