[INDOLOGY] The Earliest English Translation of the Rigveda [Publication Announcement]

Simon Brodbeck BrodbeckSP at cardiff.ac.uk
Mon Nov 4 16:45:22 EST 2019

Dear Professor Slaje,

An observation from the perspective of translation studies, if I may. Unless I am misunderstanding the situation, this most welcome publication is apparently aimed at an audience that reads German and English with equal facility. But then, since Ludwig's English translation was produced after his publication of a German translation of the same text, doesn't the target audience of this new publication seem to be a rather different audience than the one for which Ludwig's English translation was originally intended? Since now, more than a hundred years later, we have the English translation of Jamison and Brereton for the use of those who do not read German, is the new publication anticipated to be primarily of antiquarian interest? Is that the reason for its being aimed at a polyglot audience? Since those who do not read German were presumably the originally intended audience of Ludwig's English translation (and since there was an appetite for the Jamison and Brereton translation, notwithstanding recent translations of this text into German), might we perhaps look forward to a future version of this publication aimed at a similar kind of audience? Or is it thought that there will not be such an audience for such an old piece of work? I understand that you are not the publisher, but nonetheless I would be interested to hear your thoughts on these issues.

Yours collegially,
Simon Brodbeck
Cardiff University


On Nov 4, 2019, at 1:19 PM, Walter Slaje via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info<mailto:indology at list.indology.info>> wrote
Dear Colleagues,

I should like to draw your attention to a new publication in the field of Vedic studies:

Alfred Ludwigs englische Übersetzung des Rigveda (1886–1893).
1. Teil: Bücher I–V.
Herausgegeben von Raik Strunz. Preface by Walter Slaje. [Veröffentlichungen der Indologischen Kommission der Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, Mainz. 6]. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Publishers 2019. pp. XXXII, 622; 1 Portrait, 1 Image. 78,00 Eur. ISBN: 978-3-447-11306-9


Alfred Ludwig, full professor of comparative linguistics at the then German University in Prague (born 1832 in Vienna, died 1912 in Prague), was a pioneer in research pertaining to the Rigveda. He translated the Rigveda completely into German for the very first time (1876) and was the first to open up the content of the Rigveda by means of a multi-volume commentary (1878-1888). The fact that Ludwig, in the aftermath of his German translation of this important literary document, had also produced an English translation of the Rigveda between the years 1886 and 1893, which at the same time proved to be the first scholarly translation into English, remained entirely unnoticed by the Vedicist and Indological communities. Ludwig could not publish his completed translation during his lifetime. Shortly after his death, his handwritten translation was purchased by the University of Oxford. It was tacitly taken into custody by the Boden professor at the time, Arthur Anthony Macdonell (1854-1930) and left to the Max Müller Memorial Fund in Oxford only after his death.

With Maṇḍalas I-V, the first half of Ludwig’s English translation of the Rigveda is now brought to light. The publication of the second half, containing Maṇḍalas VI-X, is under preparation.

For all titles in this series, see:

Kindly regarding,
Walter Slaje
INDOLOGY mailing list
INDOLOGY at list.indology.info<mailto:INDOLOGY at list.indology.info>
indology-owner at list.indology.info<mailto:indology-owner at list.indology.info> (messages to the list's managing committee)
http://listinfo.indology.info<https://eur03.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flistinfo.indology.info%2F&data=01%7C01%7Cbrodbecksp%40cardiff.ac.uk%7C00829a39ec9241ab886c08d76159caab%7Cbdb74b3095684856bdbf06759778fcbc%7C1&sdata=812175oHX5IuIE7WwemHNQ69Ja48vzm1alS3AspZTqQ%3D&reserved=0> (where you can change your list options or unsubscribe)

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/attachments/20191104/dcaaee20/attachment.html>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list