Title: Fables and Proverbs from the Sanskrit, being the Hitopadesa
Author: Charles Wilkins (trans), Henry Morley (intro)
Publisher: George Routledge and Sons, 1885
Condition: Decorative blue hardcover. Some wear to spine and cover, and some tanning to pages. Text clean and bright.
About the Hitopadesha (from Wikipedia):
Hitopadesha (Sanskrit:हितोपदेशः Hitopadeśa) is a collection of Sanskrit fables in prose and verse written in the 12th century. It is an independent treatment of the Panchatantra. It is meant as an exposition on statecraft (including the conduct of war and peace and the development of allies) but was produced in a format easily digestible for young princes.
Hitopadesha has been derived from two words, hita (हित) and upadesha (उपदेश). It basically means to counsel or advice with benevolence.
About Charles Wilkins (from Wikipedia):
Sir Charles Wilkins, KH, FRS (1749 – May 13, 1836), was an English typographer and Orientalist, notable as the first translator of Bhagavad Gita into English, and as the creator, alongside Panchanan Karmakar, of the first Bengali typeface.
Wilkins moved to Varanasi, where he studied Sanskrit under Kalinatha, a Brahmin pandit. At this period he began work on his translation of the Mahabarata, securing strong support for his activities from the governor of British India, Warren Hastings. Though he never completed the translation, portions were later published. The most important was his version of the Gita, published in 1785 as Bhagvat-geeta, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Arjoon (London: Nourse, 1785). In his preface Wilkins argued that the Gita was written to encourage a form of monotheist “unitarianism” and to draw Hinduism away from the polytheism he ascribed to the Vedas.
His translation of the Gita was itself soon translated into French (1787) and German (1802). It proved to be a major influence on Romantic literature and on European perception of Hindu philosophy. William Blake later celebrated the publication in his picture The Bramins, exhibited in 1809, which depicted Wilkins and Brahmin scholars working on the translation.