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Murty Classical Library of India, volumes 13-38

Ramanathan, Rathna (2023) Murty Classical Library of India, volumes 13-38. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Ramanathan, Rathna

Many important classical texts in Indian literature have never reached a global audience; others are becoming unavailable even to Indian readers. This strategic design project was commissioned by the Murty Library, with the aim of creating an accessible classical library to provide modern translations of important Indian texts available in print and online. Funded by a trust set up by the Indian industrialist Rohan Murty and overseen by Harvard University Press, a framework was created for the design of the printed book interiors, digital texts and Indic typography for jacket designs.

The challenge of this project is to find contemporary designs solutions to classical texts (pre1800) whilst retaining their spirit and originality. Research is based on key subject areas: history of the book and printing in India, language and scripts of India, reading and reader interactions with texts and bilingual translations employing multi-script typography. The typesetting and design of bilingual Indic texts of such range and complexity is unprecedented in modern book design practice and poses many challenges that are addressed through three lines of enquiry. First, to establish a systematic bilingual book design for English translations of texts in ten different Indian languages and scripts grouped into four categories: North Brahmic (Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali), South Brahmic (Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada), Perso-Arabic (Urdu, Sindhi) and Prakrit (Pali). Second, to accommodate two genres in the template design: poetry and prose. Third, as Indian texts do not use italics or bold, it is imperative to establish an Indic hierarchy and grammar through the application of typographic rules.

The book designs and typesetting are created by Rathna Ramanathan using bespoke typefaces designed by John Hudson, Fiona Ross and others. Since 2017, a further 25 volumes have been designed, produced and published.

Other Contributors:
EditorPollock, Sheldon
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Central Saint Martins
Date: 2023
Funders: Harvard University Press
Related Websites: https://www.murtylibrary.com
Related Websites:
Projects or Series: Murty Classical Library of India series
Date Deposited: 01 Nov 2023 12:38
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 12:38
Item ID: 20700
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/20700

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