Girls for Sale

Girls for Sale

Kanyasulkam, a Play from Colonial India
Gurajada Apparao, Velcheru Rao
Distribution: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Publication date: 07/20/2007
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21913-8
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First staged in 1892, the South Indian play Girls for Sale (Kanyasulkam) is considered the greatest modern work of Telugu literature and the first major drama written in an Indian language that critiqued British colonialism’s effects on Indian society. Filled with humor, biting social commentary, parody, and masquerade, the plot revolves around a clever courtesan, a young widow, and a very old man who wants to buy as his wife a very young girl. Velcheru Narayana Rao has prepared the first idiomatic English translation, with notes and a critical essay. Itself a masterpiece of Indian literature in translation, this edition makes Apparao’s work available to new audiences.

Author Bio

Gurajada Apparao (1862–1915) is regarded as the father of modern Telugu literature.

Velcheru Narayana Rao is Krishnadevaraya Professor of Languages and Cultures of Asia at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


“[A] scholarly event of the first importance. . . . This translation is a work of artand I predict that it will, on its own terms, become a classic. ”
 — David Shulman, Hebrew University

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Table of Contents

A Note on Translation and Transliteration

Girls for Sale
Dramatis Personae

1. Act One

2. Act Two

3. Act Three

4. Act Four

5. Act Five

6. Act Six

7. Act Seven

The Play in Context: A Second Look at Apparao's Kanyasulkam
Performing Kanyasulkam
Guide to Pronunciation
Proper Names with Diacritics
Note on Names and Castes
On Kinship and Friendship
Card Game in Act Five, Scene Two