The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen
Siamís Great Folk Epic of Love and War
Translated and edited by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit
Illustrated by Muangsing Janchai
The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen is the most outstanding classic in the Thai language. The plot is a love story, set against a background of war, ending in high tragedy. This folk epic was first developed in oral form for popular performance with a fast-paced blend of romance, tragedy, and farce spiced with sex, warring, adventure, and the supernatural. It was later adopted by the Siamese court and written down, with two kings contributing. This first-ever translation is based on Prince Damrong's standard edition of 1917Ė18, with over a hundred passages recovered from earlier versions.
This English translation is written in lively prose, fully annotated, with over four hundred original line drawings and an essay on the history and background of the tale. The main volume presents the entire tale in translation. The companion volume contains alternative chapters and extensions, Prince Damrong's prefaces, and reference lists of flora, fauna, costume, arms, and food.
According to the leading Thai linguist William Gedney, "if all other information on traditional Thai culture were to be lost, the whole complex could be reconstructed from this marvellous text."
About the Translators:
Chris Baker formerly taught Asian history in Cambridge University and has lived in Thailand for over thirty years. Pasuk Phongpaichit is professor of economics at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok. Together they have written A History of Thailand, Thailand: Economy and Politics, Thaksin, and published several translations.
About the Illustrator:
Muangsing Janchai, a native of Suphanburi, the cradle of this tale, was trained in Thai painting, and studied further in Tibet, India, Nepal, Burma, Laos, and China. He has executed several temple murals, including a series on the tale at Wat Palelai, Suphanburi.
Two-Volume Slipcased Set, Cloth covers
Chiang Mai 2010
Size 150 x 230 mm
Main Volume 984 pages, 394 drawings, 11 diagrams, 12 maps, glossary
Companion Volume 472 pages, 33 drawings, 1 diagram, tables
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