City of Mirrors: Songs of Lalan Sai

ISBN : 9780190680220

Richard Salomon; Jeanne Openshaw; Keith CantDu; Saymon Zakaria
544 Pages
156 x 235 mm
Pub date
Aug 2017
South Asia Research
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Carol Salomon dedicated over thirty years of her life to researching, translating, and annotating this compilation of songs by the Bengali poet and mystical philosopher Lalan Sai. Living in the village of Cheuriya in Bengal in the latter half of the nineteenth-century, Lalan experienced rigid British colonialism, when civil society was strictly segregated into four birth-groups: Vedantic tradition, Vaisnava tradition, Islam, and Christianity. One major objective of his lyrical riddles was to challenge the restrictions of cultural, political, and sexual identity, and his songs accordingly express a longing to understand humanity, its duties, and its ultimate destiny. His songs also contain thinly veiled references to esoteric yogic practices (sadhana), including body-centered Hathayogic techniques that are related to those found in Buddhist, Kaula, Natha, and Sufi medieval tantric literature. Dr. Salomon's translation of the work is the first dedicated English translation of Lalan's songs to closely follow the Bangla text, with all of its dialectical variations, and is here produced alongside the original text. Although her untimely death left her work unpublished, the editors have worked diligently to reconstruct her translations from her surviving printed and handwritten manuscripts. The result is a finished product that can finally share her groundbreaking scholarship with the world.


Foreword (English)
Introduction (English)
Introduction (Bengali translation)
Editors' Note (English)
Editors Note (Bengali translation)
Part One: Previous Publications
On editiong the Song of Lalan Fakir using both Oral and Written Sources
Part Two: Songs of Lalan Sai
Alphabetical Song List (Bengali)
Alphabetical Song List (English)

About the author: 

Carol Salomon was, at the time of her death in 2009, Senior Lecturer in Bengali in the Department of Asian Languages and Literature of the University of Washington; Saymon Zakaria is Assistant Director of the Bangla Academy. He has delivered academic lectures on language, literature, and culture at the University of Chicago, the University of Washington, the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, and the Sapientia-Hungarian University of Transylvania.; Keith E. Cantu is a doctoral student in Religious Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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