The present volume is one in a series of experimental language works sponsored by the United States Office of Education and has been designed for use at the college or university level for a third year of study. It presupposes that the student has already studied the language for two years and is familiar with the materials presented in one of the more widely used introductory courses.
The book is divided into three parts. Part I consists of a review grammar and reading texts and is divided into eight chapters. Chapter I presents the script and is intended mainly for reference. Chapters II to VII present grammatical discussions with examples, exercises, and readings with notes and questions for oral discussion. Chapter VIII provides a key to the exercises and approximate English translations of the Bengali reading passages.
Part II consists of twenty-two selections from Bengali prose literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The selections are arranged in chronological order, beginning with Debendranath Tagore's Atmajibani and ending with Saiyad Mujtaba Ali's Pancatantra. Each selection is preceded by a brief introduction giving biographical information about the author and placing the selection in the context of the author's work. English versions of these introductions will be found at the end of this introduction.
Part III consists of twenty-one readings in the humanities and the social sciences. The subjects covered include art and archaeology, anthropology, and folklore, religion, linguistics, literary criticism, history, politics, philosophy, and the classical literature of India. In making these selections, we have tried to include texts which are representative of each discipline as a whole. All of the texts are from works which are readily available both in India and the United States so that should a student choose to continue reading in a particular work he will have no trouble in locating it. We have also included below selected bibliographies in the disciplines for further reading.
It is not expected that every student will find it necessary to start at the beginning of this work and proceed through to the end. Since advanced Bengali classes are usually small, the teacher can direct his attention to the specific needs of individual students. Not all will have to work through the review lessons in part I, but some will find it necessary and all may use them for reference. Part II is intended for those whose interest is primarily in literature. Part III should be used selectively, each person reading first the texts in his own and related disciplines and increasing his proficiency in the language of those disciplines through further readings in the bibliographies.
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