Weeks 3-4 Ramayana

During Week 3 and Week 4, you will read one version of the Ramayana (see the two options below), and then in Week 5, you will read a different version of the Ramayana (or you might choose to watch a video version). Here are the options to choose from as you get started in Week 3:

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OPTION ONE. Narayan's Ramayana. R. K. Narayan (1906-2001) was one of the most renowned English-language authors of India (more about Narayan), and his lovely version of the Ramayana, first published in 1973, is based on the version of a medieval Tamil poet, Kamban, who in turn based his work on the ancient Sanskrit version of Valmiki (stories from stories from stories!). The book has a detailed Reading Guide for each of the four reading portions (Parts A and B in Week 3, Parts C and D in Week 4).

Narayan's book is not available for free online, but you can read the book for free in Bizzell Library: it is available on 3-hour Reserve both as a printed book and as a Kindle book. Yes, the Library has pre-loaded Kindles for checkout — there are five Kindles, and they all have this book on them, so that makes a total of six copies in the Library.

There should be print copies of the book available for sale at the OU Bookstore ($7 rent-used was the cost last semester), or you can buy an Amazon Kindle edition for $8 which you can read on a Kindle, in your browser, or on pretty much any mobile device.

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OPTION TWO. Public Domain Edition: Ramayana. This is an anthology version of the Ramayana, available for free online, which draws on many different public domain versions of the book (mostly books published before 1923, now out of copyright). This is a different kind of reading experience since you will see different authors and styles for each episode, unlike the Narayan book which reads more like a novel. Take a look at the online presentation and see what you think: PDE Ramayana.

It also has an audio version recorded by, yes, me! The audio is embedded on each page so that you can read along while you listen, as here: Bhagiratha and Ganga. You might choose to listen to some or all of the audio, or just skip the audio — it's up to you.

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So, take a few minutes before you begin the Week 2 Reading A assignment to figure out which option you prefer. In the table below, I've tried to list the key factors to keep in mind, and you can contact me if you have any questions and are not sure which way to go:

R. K. Narayan's RamayanaPDE Ramayana online
  • free to read in Bizzell
  • buy in OU Bookstore
  • single, modern style
  • Kindle option
  • printed book option
  • no audio
  • no illustrations
  • online Reading Guide 
  • free to read online
  • various styles, authors
  • old-fashioned language
  • free audio version
  • no Kindle option
  • no printed book
  • lots of illustrations
  • lots of notes and links

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