Inviting Responses/ Interaction on the book Fantasy Fictions from the Bengal Renaissance
A book on the intersections of folktale/folklore studies, children’s literature, and colonial Indological cultural studies proper. Fantasy Fictions from the Bengal Renaissance. New Delhi: OUP, 2018: Abanindranath Tagore’s The Make-Believe Prince (Kheerer Putul) Gaganendranath Tagore’s Toddy-Cat the Bold (Bhondaṛ Bahadur).
Publication date: 29/06/2018
Paperback 372 page
Fantasy Fictions from the Bengal Renaissance presents a comprehensive analysis, commentary and annotated translation of two masterpieces of Bengali literature by Rabindranath Tagore’s nephews, Abanindranath Tagore and Gaganendranath Tagore.
The Make-Believe Prince is the delightful story of a king, his two wives, a trickster monkey, a witch, and a helper from another world who is not a ‘fairy godmother’. Abanindranath deploys traditional children’s rhymes and paints exquisite word-pictures in his original rendering of a tale which has its roots in Bengali folktale materials in various genres.
Toddy-Cat the Bold sees a group of brave comrades seek help from a young boy to rescue the son of their leader from the Two-Faced Rakshasa of the forest. Here, a more numinous supernatural helper appears. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, it presents a comic, exciting, and mysterious journey quite unlike Carroll’s, with many traditional local touches and an unexpected ending.
Abanindranath Tagore was a renowned Indian artist, author, and folklorist.
Gaganendranath Tagore was a famous satirical cartoonist, and a pioneer of lithography and design in India.
The two brothers are considered to be among the earliest modern artists of India. They founded the Indian Society of Oriental Art, Kolkata, India
Foreword by Peter Hunt
THE MAKE-BELIEVE PRINCE (KHEERER PUTUL)
Recasting Folktale: Maerchen-Rupkatha/Women’s Ritual Bratakatha Tale Material to Buchmaerchen/Kunstmaerchen
1. Abanindranath’s immediate source
2. Folklore, Collecting Folktales, Colonial Control and National Pride
3. Abanindranath’s story as a form of AT (Folktale) Tale Type 459
4. Folk-fairytale, “Art”-fairytale; Folk nursery-rhyme used creatively in original work
5. The “kheer” doll of Abanindranath’s story, its origin and nature
6. The Brahmin Witch: who is she?
7. Shashthi tales: the crossover between ordinary folk-fairytales and women’s ritual tales
8. Yet another contemporaneous reworked Shashthi-tale from the Tagores: Jnanadanandini Devi’s drama for children “The Seven Champa Brothers”
9. The particular “Indian dress” of AT 459 in Abanindranath’s Kunstmaerchen form
10. Specific features of this translation, and the illustrations.
TEXT TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED
1. The Two Queens 2. The King Plans a Sea Voyage 3. The Desires of the Younger Queen 4. The Elder Queen’s Desire 5. The King’s Illusions 6. The Land of Rubies and the Land of Gold 7. The Land of Pearls and the Land of the King’s Daughter 8. The King’s Return 9. The Younger Queen’s Welcome 10. The Arrival of the Monkey 11. The Elder Queen’s Welcome 12. The Sorrow of the Elder Queen 13. The Monkey’s Consolation 14. The Disappearance of the Monkey 15. The Monkey’s Prediction 16. The Elder Queen’s Necklace 17. The Royal Quarrel 18. The Monkey’s Complaint 19. The Hovel Renewed20. The New Pavilion 21. The Witch 22. The Platter of Sweetmeats 23. The Monkey Physician 24. The Imaginary Princeling 25. Arranging a Betrothal 26. The Make-Believe Prince 27. The Bridegroom’s Journey – Two Nursery Rhymes – 28. The Venerable Shashthi and the Aunts of Sleep 29. The Monkey’s Blackmail – More Nursery Rhymes – 30. The Dreamland of Children – And Still More Nursery Rhymes – 31. The Monkey’s Quest 32. The Wedding 33. Happy Ever After
i. Motif Summary of Kheerer Putul itself (not AT 459 generally)
ii. Indian versions of AT 459 in the order they were first published
iii. Relevant Puranic, Mangal-Kavya and Bratakatha Material
iv. Iranian/Palestinian versions of AT 459 in the order in which they were first published
v. Editions of Kheerer Putul in Bengali
vi. Bengali dramatisations of Kheerer Putul
vii. English translations of Kheerer Putul
viii. Translations of Kheerer Putul into Other Indian Languages
ix. A distinct line of translation/illustration into European languages other than English
TODDY-CAT THE BOLD (BHONDAṚ BAHADUR)
‘In the Manner of Lewis Carroll’, but a Very Different Matter
1. Dream-Convention: Entering Dream, Traversing Dreamland,and Returning from It
2. The Social World of the New Bengal Dreamland
3. The Carroll-derived inhabitants of the new Bengal wonderland
4. Gendered and Generic Adaptation: A New Male Mock-heroic Quest
5. UnCarrollean Maerchen elements
6. The Epic Quest of the Divine Hero
7. The Myth of the Goddess and the Jaté-buṛi
8. Pointers to Interpretation
9. Unfinished Stories and an Unfinished Quest: Anti-climactic, Peripheral, Unnecessary, yet Meaningful
10. A New Theme: Growing Down, a New Start
11. In Sum: Carroll and Gaganendranath
12. Specific features of the Translation
13. Before we translate him, what species of animal is Bhondaṛ Bahadur?
14. From nature to culture: the Asian Palm Civet “bhondaṛ” in a Bengali lexical field and “perceptual group”
15. For non-Banglaphone South Asians: the Bengali (Asian Palm Civet) “bhondaṛ” or its closest approximations
16. Our bhondaṛ and his honorific in translated title and text
TEXT TRANSLATED AND ANNOTATED1. Bhondaṛ Arrives: The Call to Battle 2. The Attack of the Two-Faced Rakshasa of Chutupalu 3. Farewell to Bhondaṛ Mahal – The Song the Army Sang – 4. Mishap at Kamalapuli Railway Station, but Soldiering on to the Ancient Apothecary 5. In Front of the Mad King’s Garden, and What Happened There 6. The Blue Mountain, the Palm-Leaf Sentries, and Brother Fox 7. To the Secret Chamber 8. The Top-Knotted Old Mother 9. Sleeping— 10. —and Waking
i. The text: editions
ii. The supernatural and folklore figures
iii. The musical instruments
iv. The measures
v. The magic lantern as a scientific instrument
vi. The plants
vii. Which subspecies is Bhondaṛ Bahadur;what do our bhondaṛs look like?
viii. Gaganendranath as a painter and Bhondaṛ Bahadur
x. The Variations between Versions: “Dadabhay-er Deyala” (1926) and Bhondaṛ Bahadur (1956)
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