A New Translation of the Bhagavad gita

Ithamar Theodor theodor at RESEARCH.HAIFA.AC.IL
Tue Jun 10 14:58:21 UTC 2008

Dear George,

 I, too, would be happy to see a sample chapter of your translation and
commentary. Perhaps you could send me chapter 2?

 Very best,

Dr. Ithamar Theodor
Visiting Fellow at Clare Hall and Divinity Faculty
University of Cambridge
E-mail     it236 at cam.ac.uk
Mail address: Clare Hall, Cambridge CB3 9AL, U.K.
Home page: http://east-asia.haifa.ac.il/staff/itheodor.htm

----- Original Message -----
From: "George Thompson" <gthomgt at COMCAST.NET>
To: <INDOLOGY at liverpool.ac.uk>
Sent: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:15 AM
Subject: A New Translation of the Bhagavad Gita

Dear List,

Even though the Spring semester is only a month behind us, and Summer is
still not quite yet upon us [at least officially] here in the USA, many
of us are already being asked to submit book orders for next Fall's
classes. I'd like to call the List's attention to my new translation of
the Gita, to be published by Farrar Straus & Giroux, a distinguished
literary publisher, this summer [ apparently in August]. It will be
published in an inexpensive paperback edition aimed at students in
courses that many of us teach. I have translated it with our students
very much in mind. I have used my translation with my own students for
the past year and a half and I think that it has been more effective
than any of the previous translations that I have used.

The galleys of this edition have been circulated among Sanskritists,
Indologists, Historians of Religion, Classicists, poets, and Comparative
Literature specialists. The feedback from them has been very encouraging.

Let me call your attention to the June 12, 2008 issue of the New York
Review of Books. In that issue, on page 4, facing the Contents page, is
a full page advertisement from Farrar Straus & Giroux celebrating their
forthcoming summer reading list. It culminates with a photo of my book's
cover [with a lovely image of Krishna that the art historian Anna
Dallapiccola generously recommended to us], and this blurb from
Stephanie Jamison:

"George Thompson brings his fine-tuned sense of poetic language and his
deep knowledge of the Indian -- especially Vedic -- religious tradition
to this fresh and vigorous new translation of a foundational text."

On the back cover of the book will be this comment from Victor Mair
[whose popular translation of the Tao Te Ching makes very interesting
connections between the Gita (and yoga) and Taoist thought]:

“With this elegant, new rendering of The Bhagavad Gita, George Thompson
has achieved the seemingly impossible: his translation is accurate, yet
readable; written in crisp, straightforward prose, but filled with
poetic brilliance; accompanied by a learned introduction and valuable
commentary, both of which are informed by profound Indological
scholarship that illuminates rather than intimidates. In short, this is
a gem that will be appreciated by anyone who wishes to familiarize
himself or herself with one of the world's greatest religious and
philosophical classics.”

- Victor H. Mair, Professor of Chinese Language and Literature,
Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of

I have just learned that the right to publish this translation in India
has been proposed by the publisher Macmillan India, although the date
for publication in India is still to be determined.

Anyone who is interested in looking at a sample of this translation, or
its introduction, in order to determine its usefulness in the classroom
should feel free to contact me. I can send pdf files of any sections of
the text that may interest you.

This message has been sent to a handful of email lists. I apologize to
anyone who may receive it more than once. I trust that this book notice
does not offend any list ethics regarding book notices. If it does
offend, then please accept my apologies and delete it.

George Thompson

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