The Famous Ghalib
This book presents a selection from the Urdu verse of Ghalib (1797 – 1869), the greatest (in the translator’s opinion) of all the poets of Urdu and Persian that the subcontinent has produced. This selection has been specially selected to exclude those of his verses which are replete with allusions which present – day readers would not understand. They do, however, cover a wide range of his thought. Those who wish to understand the full range of what Ghalib has to offer will find the guidance they need in the essay ‘Getting to Know Ghalib’, and for those who know Urdu, the essay ‘On Translating Ghalib’ will be of particular interest since it deals with the problems of presenting Ghalib in English dress.
My yearning stirs once more to see someone confronting me The daggers of her eyelashes sharp with collyrium
My spirit seeks once more the leisure I once had to sit Lost night and day in memories of loves that won my heart
Ralph Russell, born in 1918, read Classics and Geography at St. John's College, Cambridge. His first acquaintance with Urdu was during compulsory military service in India during the war. After the war, his interest in Urdu led to his joining the staff of the School of Oriental and African Studies, where he soon became a Reader. He is the co-author, with Khurshidul Islam, of three Mughal Poets (1968) and Ghalib: Life and Letters (1969). His teachings, translations and writings on Urdu and its literature have earned him a high reputation both in the subcontinent, where he has spent much time lecturing and researching, and among his fellow Urdu scholars in North America and Europe.