The Famous Ghalib: The Sound of My Moving Pen

Roli Books Private Limited, 12.07.2015 - 232 Seiten
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‘Easily the best Urdu scholar in the West.’ Shamsur Rehman Farouqi

‘Marion Molteno has mined a substantial corpus of Russell’s writings to string together his most valuable insights into the genre of ghazal... to prepare the uninitiated reader for the final feast of Ghalib’s ghazals in English translation. And what a magnificent feast it is!’ M. Asaduddin, Jamia Millia Islamia

The second edition of Ralph Russell’s critically acclaimed The Famous Ghalib has been put together according to guidance left by the author/translator before his death in 2008.

This book introduces Ghalib to anyone who wants to find out why his poetry has inspired generations of Urdu speakers and many others besides. It explains the form of poetry in which Ghalib wrote, and how he used its symbolism to express his response both to the universal experiences of life and to the times that he himself lived through. With over 200 couplets in Ralph Russell’s translations, alongside the original Urdu – and also transcribed using both English and Hindi scripts, this is a must have for all poetry lovers.

The translations are as concise as the original, matching Ghalib’s intensity with words chosen to convey precise meaning; and they do this in English which flows naturally and with unobtrusive poetic metre.

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Ausgewählte Seiten


Love mysticism and dedication
Images and symbols
Poetic symbolism and the poets experience
A poet in Mughal Delhi
Poets against fundamentalists

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Autoren-Profil (2015)

Ralph Russell (1918-2008) has been widely recognized as the greatest western scholar of Urdu. Khushwant Singh described him as ‘much the most revered name of interpreters of Ghalib’s life and works’. For over thirty years he headed the Urdu department at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and throughout his life regularly spent time in both India and Pakistan, writing, working with fellow scholars and as a popular lecturer. After his retirement he pioneered the teaching of Urdu to English speakers in communities across the UK, to encourage greater mutual understanding between people of different backgrounds. His unusual skill as a translator and his insightful writing have opened up an appreciation of Urdu literature to a wide range of readers.

Marion Molteno studied Urdu with Ralph Russell and worked closely with him for the last 26 years of his life. She edited his autobiography and several of his major books on Urdu literature, and as his literary executor continues to edit his work. She was a senior policy advisor to the international charity Save the Children, working across many countries including those in South and Central Asia. She has written and lectured widely on issues of education and development.

She is a prize-winning author of four novels and a collection of short stories. If you can walk, you can dance won a Commonwealth Writers Prize.

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