Year published :March 2020
Pages :346 pp. (vi+340), paperback
Size :14 x 21 cm.
Black & White photograph :10
Kings in Love: Lilit Phra Lo and Twelve Months – Two classic Thai poemsby Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit
Translated and introduced by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit
Lilit Phra Lo and Twelve Months (Thawathotsamat) are among the earliest works of Thai literature, over 500 years old, both on a theme of love, both distinctive, and both controversial. Lilit Phra Lo is a long narrative poem with an unusual romance, a contest of rival magic, an erotic climax, and a blood-soaked ending. It has been condemned as feudal and indulgent, but celebrated for its flowing poetry and emotional power.
Twelve Months is a passionate lament for a lost lover, once greatly acclaimed, but quietly sidelined over the past century for being “too erotic.”
Though rooted in Thai culture, both speak to universal themes and have echoes in world literature.
These translations by an award-winning team aim to convey not only the meaning of the old Thai originals but also their beauty and emotional power.
For each poem there is an Afterword tracing the work’s origins, structure, publication history, and critical reception.
- Precise line-by-line translations with extensive annotations on linguistic, cultural, and historic issues
- Renderings in blank verse, capturing the lyrical beauty and emotional power of the originals
- Afterwords tracing the history of each work, including critical reception, controversies, summary of the Thai-language academic study, and comparisons to international literature
- Award-winning team with unmatched experience in translating early Thai literature
About the Translators
Chris Baker is honorary editor of the Journal of the Siam Society. Pasuk Phongpaichit is Emeritus Professor of Economics at Chulalongkorn University. Together they have written extensively on Thailand’s history, political economy, and current affairs including Thaksin, A History of Thailand, and A History of Ayutthaya. They have also translated major Thai academic works and classics of Thai literature including The Tale of Khun Chang Khun Phaen (AAS translation prize), Yuan Phai, the Defeat of Lanna, and From the Fifty Jātaka. In 2017 they became the first couple to win the Fukuoka Grand Prize for their contribution to Asian culture.
What others are saying
“This brilliant translation introduces a masterpiece of early Thai poetry to international audiences. As erotic as it is elegant, Twelve Months may now claim its place among the great elegies of world literature.”—Susan Morgan, Distinguished Professor of English, University of Miami
Thai literature | Siam | translation | love | erotic