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Kalidasa’s most famous play refashions an episode from the Mahabharata, magnificently dramatizing the love story of Shakuntala, a girl of semi-divine origin, and Dushyanta, a noble human king. After their brief and passionate but secret union at her father’s forest ashram, Dushyanta must return to his capital. He gives Shakuntala his signet ring, promising to make her his queen when she joins him later. But, placed unawares under a curse, he forgets her—and she loses the ring that would have enabled him to recognize her. Will the lovers be reunited?
The world’s first full-length play centred on a comprehensive love story, The Recognition of Shakuntala is an undisputed classic of the ancient period. Vinay Dharwadker’s sparkling new translation is the definitive poetic rendering of this romantic-heroic comedy for the twenty-first century stage. His absorbing commentary and notes give contemporary readers an unparalleled opportunity to savour the riches of a timeless text.