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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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The Hekṭor-badh (1871) and Homer’s Iliad 1

The Hekṭor-badh (1871) and Homer’s Iliad 1

(p.167) 6 The Hekṭor-badh (1871) and Homer’s Iliad1
Madly after the Muses

Alexander Riddiford

Oxford University Press

The Hekṭor-badh is an abridged version, composed in six paricched or ‘chapters’ of Bengali prose, of Homer’s Iliad 1–12. The Hekṭor-badh is a fascinating work from the point of view of its reception of Homer’s Iliad. As the work’s very name implies (‘The Slaying of Hector’ rather than ‘The Iliad’), the Hekṭor-badh is a very loose and transformative version of the Homeric original. Above all, the Hekṭor-badh figures a kind of implicit commentary on Homer’s Iliad, a translation strewn with implied glosses on the work translated. This Bengali ‘commentary’ is above all a comparative Indo-European one: throughout the Hekṭor-badh Homeric gods, customs and religious practices, rather than being translated or transliterated in a straightforward manner, are frequently glossed with Hindu ‘equivalents’. The nexus of Indo-European comparisons underpinning Madhusudan’s Hekṭor-badh seems to be inspired above all by the scholarship of the early British Orientalist Sir William Jones.

Keywords:   Homer’s Iliad, translation, version, Indo-European, orientalism, Sir William Jones

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