February 9, 2012
Yesterday morning, 8th February 2012, saw the Clay Sanskrit Library project deliver its latest Outreach session to a group of Year 10 students from Ramsgate, Kent. Last week the students were visited by Cressida Ryan, the Outreach Officer for Merton College, to hear about the reasons to consider applying to Oxford when they make their university choices in 2 year’s time. As part of their reciprocal visit to Oxford, she arranged for them to have a number of sessions with subject specialists including one session on a subject they would not have heard of before but may want to consider… Sanskrit!
The theme of the session was the processes by which ancient civilisations are discovered, understood and how the literature they leave behind for us is deciphered and then translated. We began with a whistle-stop tour of the great civilisations of the ancient world across the Mediterranean, Near East, South and East Asia. The students were then shown a range of different scripts used in the ancient world to compose documents, including the Linear B script of Crete, the still undeciphered Indus Valley Script and the famous Rosetta Stone. We then moved onto the devanagari script used to write Sanskrit – what characters it contains, how they are combined to form other characters and how all of these are put together to record the rich and beautiful Sanskrit language. The students were then set the challenging tasks of writing their own names in devanagari and learning to introduce themselves in Sanskrit. This didn’t seem to pose any problem for these bright and engaged young minds!
The last part of the session explained how Sanskrit fits into a much larger family of languages which includes Greek, Latin, English and hundreds of others. The main ambition of the session was to get the students to appreciate that at university their familiar curriculum subjects no longer operate in isolation from one another: when studying a subject like Sanskrit you will have to cover language, literature and history but can also branch out into anything from philosophy and religion to science and mathematics!
The students thoroughly enjoyed themselves and seemed to take a lot away from the experience. Perhaps some of them will even sign up for a Sanskrit course at university in a few years!
January 24, 2012
The first Outreach session of the year is already in place, coming on the 8th February.
This will involve a group of Year 10 and Year 11 students from Ramsgate, Kent who are visiting the University of Oxford to find out what could await them if they decide to go to university.
Along with their other activities for the day, the group will meet with Matt Kimberley from the Clay Sanskrit Library programme who will talk to them about the world of Sanskrit and Classical Indian literature. There may also be time for the group to see some actual Sanskrit manuscripts first hand at the Special Collections Reading Room.
More on the session, including some pictures, will appear after the event. We look forward to many more of these sessions over the year ahead!
January 18, 2012
Now that 2012 is underway we look forward to another year of the Clay Sanskrit Library Project at the Bodleian Library, University of Oxford.
As well as continuing our Outreach work with schools across the UK, plans include beginning to expand our activities abroad. There will also be a second wave of donation sets being distributed to worthy recipient institutions internationally. More on this will come as the project develops in the coming months.
We are also pleased to announce that there will be further additions to the CSL publications list with a Clay Sanskrit Library Anthology hotly anticipated for release in 2014. This will bring together some favourite selections from the texts, tied together as an interesting thematic journey through Classical Indian Literature.
More information on the CSL Project’s activities will be posted as we plan our work for the coming year so keep following!
January 18, 2012
The end of 2011 so the completion of the CSL project to donate sets of the books from the series to public libraries across the UK and universities throughout Europe, North America and Asia.
These sets have been gratefully received by their recipients and we look forward to further developments of this project in 2012. We would like to thank all those institutions who participated in this aspect of our work.
August 16, 2011
Warm letters of gratitude and praise from institutions across the world are starting to come in for the donations of Clay Sanskrit Library volumes.
We have been pleased to hear from both Bristol and Cardiff University in the UK, as well as univsersities in Europe such as Halle-Wittenburg, Muenster, Vilnius and Warsaw.
We look forward to hearing from more institutions as the final batches are dispatched to locations across North America, Europe and Asia.
Academics and librarians at Cardiff University grateful receive volumes from the Clay Sanskrit Library
August 16, 2011
Students from St James Schhol for Girls
Following June’s very successful visit from St James School for Boys to view some of our Indian and South East Asian manuscript holdings here at the Bodleian Library, last month we were pleased to receive a parallel visit from students at St James School for Girls.
Students admire a manuscript of the Ramayana complete with elaborately engraved coverings and the original writing implementlection of texts from the Epics through to Buddhist writings.
The group went to the Radcliffe Science Library where we hold our Special Collections manuscripts in order to look at a selection of manuscripts ranging from the Epics to Buddhist writings. They were greatly enthused and impressed to see the materials from which are sourced the very editions of texts they work with in their Sanskrit classes at school.
We are looking forward to inviting more school groups here for manuscript ‘show and tells’ with the start of the new school year, particularly for schools in the local Oxford area. If you are involved with a school and think you would be interested in arranging a similar experience for your pupils, please contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
June 28, 2011
St James School boys with William Jones' translation
Last Tuesday a group of pupils from St James School for Boys paid a visit to Oxford and in particular the Bodleian Library where they viewed some of greatest South Asian manuscript treasures in our collection.
The boys, who are in Year 10, had the opportunity to spend the morning looking at William ‘Oriental’ Jones’ original translation of the famous Kalidasa play, ‘The Recognition of Shakuntala’, as well as another manuscript of the play and the modern Clay Sanskrit Library translation of it. They also saw a 300-year-old complete manuscript of Valmiki’s great epic the Ramayana, a 200-year-old book of the Mahabharata, Sir Monier Monier-Williams’ own copy of the Bhagavad Gita and an incredible Thai Biddhist manuscripts beautifully illustrated with scenes from the past lives of the Buddha.
They expressed huge enthusiasm for the experience and immense gratitude for getting to see some original copies of sources for stories which they themselves have studied during their Sanskrit classes at school.
The pupils with an 18th century translation of Shakuntala and the Clay Sanskrit Library's 21st century translation of the same text
After lunch the day finished with a visit to the Ashmolean Museum where some excellent examples of Classical Indian and Central Asian Hindu, Buddhist and Jain art and sculpture is held. This gave them the opportunity to see more of the rich and varied sources from which we have learnt so much about the extensive cultural heritage of India.
We at the Bodleian Library and Clay Sanskrit Library Project look forward to having another group from the school back next year.
May 4, 2011
Currently in the pipelines for Spring and Summer 2011 are a public event at Leicester Public Library discussing the importance of Classical Indian Literature; further Outreach events with school groups visiting Oxford University; an invitation to return to participate in the UNIQ summer schools programme with a range of evening talks and activities; more visits to the Bodleian and its Sanskrit manuscript holdings from pupils at the St James’ Schools; and the CSL’s participation in India Day at the Bodleian Library.
More on all of these events will be announced as arrangements are made.
May 4, 2011
2011 has so far proved a busy and fruitful year for the Clay Sanskrit Library. Throughout Hilary term (January to March) the CSL offered a course in ‘Introduction to Sanskrit Language and Literature’ at the Oxford University Department for Continuing Education. This highly successful ten-week course attracted a dozen students and covered basic Sanskrit grammar as well as an overview of Sanskrit literary genres ranging from the Vedas to Classical drama. Included in this was the CSL’s own publications of the Mahabharata, Ramayana and Kalidasa’s ‘The Recognition of Sakuntala’. We are pleased to say that all the students passed with very high marks!
Owing to its success, the CSL Sanskrit course will be running again in Michaelmas (October-December) with a continuation course covering more advanced grammar and further literary topics in Hilary 2012 (January-March). We hope to see even more new students for this. There will also be a Sanskrit summer school running in Summer 2012 with the Department for Continuing Education offering an intensive version of these courses.
November 26, 2010
After making a proposal to the Oxford University Department of Continuting Education (OUDCE) two months ago, the Clay Sanskrit Library project is pleased to announce that it will be offering a ten-week adult education course entitled “Introduction to Sanskrit Language and Literature”.
Each week students will learn new elements of the grammar that help them begin to tackle the rich and rewarding language of Classical Indian literature, as well as learning a bit about some of the important texts and genres that contribute to this wonderful literary corpus. Classes will begin in late January and continue into March.
If you are interested in pursuing this then please contact the OUDCE at Rewley House or through their website. We will keep you updated on this exciting new development in our educational activities as it progresses