Pańcatantra: The Book of India's Folk Wisdom

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Patrick Olivelle
OUP Oxford, Nov 25, 1999 - Fiction - 195 pages
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The Pancatantra is the most famous collection of fables in India and was one of the earliest Indian books to be translated into Western languages. No other Indian work has had a greater influence on world literature, and no other collection of stories has become as popular in India itself. A significant influence on the Arabian Nights and the Fables of La Fontaine, the Pancatantra teaches the principles of good government and public policy through the medium of animal stories. Its positive attitude towards life and its advocacy of ambition, enterprise, and drive counters any preconception of passivity and other-worldliness in ancient Indian society. Patrick Olivelle presents the Pancatantra in all its complexity and rich ambivalence, examining central elements of political and moral philosophy alongside the many controversial issues surrounding its history, including its numerous versions and translations, and the reconstruction of the original text by Franklin Edgerton. This new translation vividly reveals the story-telling powers of the original author, while detailed notes illuminate aspects of ancient Indian society and religion to the non-specialist reader.

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About the author (1999)

Patrick Olivelle is Director of the Center for Asian Studies and Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Texas, Austin. He translated and edited Upanishads is World's Classics.

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