In September, Harvard University Press tried something a little different. That month the scholarly press announced it was holding an open search for the design of its forthcoming book series featuring English translations of works in various Indian languages. HUP has now found a logo and look for its Murty Classical Library of India—freelance designer Andrea Stranger took home $10,000 for her efforts—and the line remains set for a 2013 launch date.
The Murty series, established through an endowment from the Murty family, will comprise classics written in ther original Indian languages—Bangla, Hindi, Pali, Panjabi (Punjabi), Persian, and Sanskrit, among others—with English translations of the text on facing pages. Sheldon Pollock, a professor of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Columbia, is editing the series and said the library will bring a huge swath of books published in South Asia before 1800 to readers.
Phoebe Kosman at HUP said the number of books in the series is “open-ended” and that the press currently has 30 titles in the “formal planning stages.” Kosman could not offer specifics on planned print runs for each book, noting that the “print run isn’t especially meaningful” for these titles, which will remain in cloth. “With contemporary printing methodology we can keep that cloth edition in print efficiently,” she said. The books will also be available in India, a market HUP is investigating with serious interest. Kosman said that in India the design contest, as well as news of the series itself, received a notable amount of press coverage.