Critique of the Ramayana Modern Prose Translation

Topics: Ramayana, Indian epic poetry, Rama Pages: 3 (1162 words) Published: March 26, 2012
In a just world, Mr. R.K. Narayan’s estate would be responsible for reimbursing seventeen-fifty, plus applicable taxes, to all those who purchased the Penguin Classics 2006 publication of his book, The Ramayana: A Shortened Modern Prose Version of the Indian Epic. Stated clearly on the back of the cover is the promise that R.K. Narayan “recounts [The Ramayana] with the narrative flair of a master novelist’’. The back cover lied. Narayan’s re-telling condenses the epic poem so much to the point of nearly listing a series of events. No matter the inspiration, Narayan’s The Ramayana is still a story, and should therefore be able to stand on it’s own as a captivating tale—with further literary research or expansion being used to enhance it’s appeal, not explain it. Arguably, the ‘narrative flair’ of this re-telling is little more expressive than unsolicited summaries found on the Internet, and without further literary aide or instruction, does not stand as a solid piece of literature. What is worse, is that instead of allowing a greater breadth of readers to relate and experience tale of the Ramayana, new readers are alienated by it’s convoluted atmosphere. While the task is grand, Narayan’s translation is not listed as an aide to a larger, more in-depth version; it is still a novel and as such needs to be able to stand strong in its own right when evaluated alone. People who have no prior knowledge of the original Sanskrit story, and who have not been raised with the Hindu epic as a part of their life, should be able to pick up this book, read it, and—regardless of how far the tale may go in global history—be able to enjoy one hundred and fifty one pages of literature, without having any prior knowledge, or requiring further research. Having more knowledge, and doing more research on the original epic tale should increase what readers are able to receive from the book, but it should not be necessary in order to understand it. As it stands, without knowing the...
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