Into Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition
Harvard University Press
Sur’s Ocean: Poems from the Early Tradition was published in 2015 as the fifth volume of the Murty Classical Library of India. That book contains Kenneth Bryant’s critical reconstructions of 433 poems of Surdas that circulated in the sixteenth century, when this great Hindi poet lived, and it includes facing-page, English verse translations by John Stratton Hawley. The name traditionally assigned to these poems is Sursagar, meaning Sur’s Ocean.
Into Sūr’s Ocean: Poetry, Context, and Commentary picks up many threads from that volume, and provides a substantial introduction to the poet, his medium, and his oeuvre; an overview of editions, including Bryant’s; an analysis of the challenges Hawley faced as translator; and poem-by-poem commentary. Each commentary is a brief, independent essay. This book offers a deep—and rewarding—dive into Sur’s Ocean.