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Madly after the MusesBengali Poet Michael Madhusudan Datta and his Reception of the Graeco-Roman Classics$
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Alexander Riddiford

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199699735

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199699735.001.0001

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Further Receptions of Vergil’s Aeneid

Further Receptions of Vergil’s Aeneid

(p.122) 4 Further Receptions of Vergil’s Aeneid
Madly after the Muses

Alexander Riddiford

Oxford University Press

The two texts considered here, The Anglo-Saxon and the Hindu (1854) and the embryonic ‘national epic’ Siṃhal-bijay kābya (c.1861), show a close engagement with Vergil’s Aeneid. Although both texts are marginal and little studied, nonetheless each represents an arresting response to Vergil’s Aeneid worthy of the reader’s attention. Furthermore, there is a certain thematic congruity between these two texts, despite their obvious differences, which argues that they should be considered together. Both texts, for example, read Vergil’s Aeneid in terms of national identity and colonial adventure: one text uses the Roman epic to consider the colonial relationship between Britain and ‘queenly Hindustan’; the other to consider Bengali national identity and Bengal’s relationship with the rest of India. The responses examined here have a marked and somewhat subversive political aspect, and address themselves to sensitive issues surrounding Britain’s presence in India and its effect on Bengali culture.

Keywords:   Vergil, Aeneid, Aeneas, Dido, national epic, empire, colonial

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