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KALILA AND DIMNA, Vol. 1: - Fables of Friendship and Betrayal from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalilah and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus by [Wood, Ramsay, Kilrenny, Margaret, Doris Lessing [Nobel Literature Laureate 200]
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KALILA AND DIMNA, Vol. 1: - Fables of Friendship and Betrayal from the Panchatantra, Jatakas, Bidpai, Kalilah and Dimnah and Lights of Canopus 5th , Kindle Edition


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Length: 308 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

•Kalila and Dimna• or •The Panchatantra• (also known in Europe since 1483 as •The Fables of Bidpai•) is a multi-layered, inter-connected and variable arrangement of animal stories, with one story leading into another, sometimes three or four deep. These arrangements have contributed to world literature for over 2000 years, migrating across ancient cultures in a multitude of written and oral formats. All our beast fables from Aesop and the Buddhist •Jataka Tales• through La Fontaine to Uncle Remus owe this strange, shape-shifting 'book' a huge debt.

In its original Arabic format, •Kalila and Dimna• (•The Panchatantra• being its Sanskrit precursor), ostensibly constitutes a handbook for rulers, a so-called 'Mirror for Princes' illustrating indirectly, through a cascade of teaching stories and verse, how to (and how not to!) run the kingdom of your life. In their slyly profound grasp of human nature at its best (and worst!) these animal fables, usually avoiding any moralistic human criticism, serve up digestible sage counsel for us all.

Based on his collation of scholarly translations from key Sanskrit, Syriac, Arabic and Persian texts, as well as the 1570 English rendition by Sir Thomas North, this is the first uncompromisingly modern re-telling in either the East or West for over 400 years. In Ramsay Wood's version the profound meanings behind these ancient fables shine forth as he captures a great world classic, making it fresh, relevant, fascinating and hugely readable.

His first volume of fables from •Kalila and Dimna• coves deceit, political skullduggery, murder, enemies, kings, dervishes, monkeys, lions, jackals, turtles, crows and how we all cooperate (or not!), live and die together in peace or conflict. This is a book full of outrageously behaved animals and humans doing the most delightfully awful (yet sometimes gentle) things to each other. These are joyous, sad, amusing and sometimes brutal stories; their function being to educate both king and commoner alike in the ways of the world, the harsh realities that can often lurk beneath the surface of our cozy, everyday subjectivity.

These charming and humorous stories about people and animals have found their way in one form or another into the folklore of every major culture and tradition. What links the fables is the core message about managing power, wise leadership and the value of true friendship.

In his re-writing of this world classic, Ramsay Wood deftly knits several oral story-telling traditions into captivating modern literary style. This version from all major ancient texts is the first new compendium in English since 1570. These beautifully illustrated tales will be treasured by young and old alike.

'Racy, funny, vigorous, contemporary.' DORIS LESSING

'Wood's superb stories should be set aside Italo Calvino's retelling of the folktales of Italy.' CARLOS FUENTES

'Stories as closely interfolded as the petals of a rose.' URSULA LE GUIN

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1220 KB
  • Print Length: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Zirac Press; 5 edition (20 May 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002AQTGM0
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #496,352 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Classic for a reason! 6 April 2017
By Doug Bowker - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There's a reason certain books are called Classics! I sought this book out when it was noted in a book on the history of Persia, which upon further research seemed to pop up on multiple levels as a major classic of Eastern literature. Comparisons to Shakespeare and more were not uncommon, but still it's easy to wonder if it's all just hyperbole. In this case, it is absolutely real.

About a quarter of the way into Kalila and Dimna I finished up one particularly clever chapter, the type of storytelling that is so good and perfect that all the world around seems to go quiet for that moment. I closed my Kindle reader and suddenly I knew it: I knew not only why the book is still held in such high esteem, but moreover I in a personal sense was absurdly unqualified to even judge it! Obviously I am now sharing how much I enjoyed it, but to actually "review" it in the sense of passing judgment? It'd be ridiculous really. As if any one of us could be remotely qualified to judge Shakespeare's body of work!

So just know the simple fact that, yes this is a book of tales within tales, each expertly and cleverly told, all just the right length and tone. It is the kind of genius that would function to delight children and adults in equal measure, with the kind of eye for detail that makes it gives each section its own unique flavor. Certainly many of the themes will be familiar to most adults, but the storytelling is never predictable and often goes against what a reader expects will play out.

I cannot comment on any other translations but this one is a good balance between feeling timeless and yet stays accessible to a modern reader.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars very good 4 July 2012
By David - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
These are timeless teaching stories. Teaching stories from a culture are always fascinating. The Classic Tales of Brer Rabbit are in fact African teaching stories. Pancatantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom (Oxford World's Classics) is another example of teaching stories, as is The Monkey King: A Superhero Tale of China, Retold from The Journey to the West (Ancient Fantasy), and Our Stories Remember: American Indian History, Culture, and Values through Storytelling. Next question: how do you use stories, to effect change? My Voice Will Go with You: The Teaching Tales of Milton H. Erickson tells one way. Dilbert 2.0: 20 Years of Dilbert is a sort of cultural mirror, in which we see our lives, cut up into meaning. Or in Dilbert's case, lack of meaning. Kalila wa Dimna is also a cultural mirror, in the same way. Stories cut experience up into meaning. Analysis- is cutting up, just as synthesis is joining. This is a fun mirror, at least, I like these stories better than those of Aesop. Another example of fascinating teaching stories is of courseThe Exploits of the Incomparable Mulla Nasrudin / The Subtleties of the Inimitable Mulla Nasrudin Nasrudin, and these come from the same culture.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite and funny 7 September 2010
By Flip - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Ever thought people at the office were animals? After reading this book you'll be able to name exactly which ones. The animals in these stories behave with perfect logic - for themselves - and surprising and touching outcomes. Even if you know the ancient tales, the retelling here is succinct and poignant with a rich vocabulary and just the right turn of phrase. Wolf, Rat, Mice, Turtle, Bedbug - all come to life in ways you will recognize - from your fellow humans. Bring the book and a blanket to the park and enjoy your afternoon among the critters.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a fantastic book everyone should read 24 January 2016
By Joshtron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book everyone should read. It's filled with lessons everyone can use, whether you're in the business world or raising a family.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if you have to read it 13 September 2016
By Amy Pfeil - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to read this book for class. I would not read this book if I didn't have to but it was not a bad read. It was interesting thought I felt sort of confusing. It was amusing at times and had some great points though also many odditites.