24 Abridged World Classics Translated into Sinhala by M. D. Gunasena


Suvisal Pethum (Great Expectations)

M. D. Gunasena publishers have done a commendable job by translating 24 abridged world classics into Sinhala. I already read few of the translated classics and am satisfied with the quality of the translations. The covers and the drawings of the books are bit to be desired though. I also had a chat with the able translator, Mr. Premasiri Mahingoda over the phone and expressed my satisfaction about the translations to him. Mr. Mahingoda is a 77-year-old experienced and qualified translator with over 20 years of teaching experience overseas and now lives in Kandana.

Each book contains less than 150 pages and written in good Sinhala with retaining the curiosity of the reader till the last page. The price of a book also is in the range of Rs. 200 to Rs. 230. Reading these books at a young age will increase the curiosity of the children and when their English reaches a stage that they can handle it decently they will go for English abridged versions. For those who go for further education or those who read for fun will opt for reading the unabridged full texts some day. This is the way the literature should be introduced to the children at a younger age and it is praiseworthy that a publisher has taken this step.

In the Western world, the classics are introduced to children as abridged versions and I think this should be followed suit for Sinhala literature too. Sinhala classics also should be introduced as abridged versions in Sinhala for the young readers before they are exposed to the original so that their reading scope is increased at a tender age. Let’s hope M. D. Gunasena or someone else embarks on such a project as well.

The list of the translated titles

  1. Emma – Jane Austen
  2. Heidi – Johanna Spyri
  3. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
  4. Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
  5. King Lear, Hamlet, Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth – William Shakespeare
  6. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  7. The Arabian Nights
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain
  9. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  10. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  11. Kim – Rudyard Kipling
  12. The Count of Monte Cristo -Alexander Dumas
  13. The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling
  14. Black Beauty – Anna Sewell
  15. The Wizard of Oz -Lyman Frank Baum
  16. Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne
  17. The Invisible Man – H. G. Wells
  18. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe
  19. Little Women – Louisa M. Alcott
  20. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – R. L. Stevenson
  21. Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea – Jules Verne
  22. Treasure Island – R. L. Stevenson
  23. The Time Machine – H. G. Wells
  24. Kidnapped – R. L. Stevenson

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