James Keilty's Prashad
|From:||Jim Henry <jimhenry1973@...>|
|Date:||Wednesday, February 13, 2008, 22:51|
I've been reading Samuel Delany's _About Writing_, and came across
an interesting description of a major conlanger I'd never heard of before.
I'll quote a bit from the interview where Delany' describes him and his work:
"James Keilty was a San Francisco city planner on the edge of a circle of
fifties, sixties and seventies writers that included Robert Duncan and Richard
Brautigan, many of whom were of an experimental bent. A frighteningly
literate gay aesthete, he died of lung cancer in the early nineties. More
obsessive than most, however, Keilty went so far as to invent his own
language, complete with its own grammar and vocabulary, as well as an
imaginary country and a culture to go with it. He wrote stories and folk plays
in his invented language, Prashad. He began a lengthy novel in the
language. He even went so far as to translate classic works of world
literature into Prashad, such as Shakespeare's Hamlet and Proust's
Du Côté de chez Swann. In the early seventies, I got a chance to attend
a performance of three of Keilty's one-act plays in Prashad, where the
actors were rehearsed and schooled in the meaning of the somewhat
Delany goes on to devote five pages to the phonology, orthography and
grammar of Prashad, with three sample texts, two in romanization and one
in the native script. The script looks a bit like Arabic, with large curly
consonant letters and small dots and other supersigns for the vowels.
The language seems to have an interesting derivational morphology.
Keilty's papers are in the library at SUNY Buffalo.
There's a brief comment on one of Keilty's short stories in this
book review from 1975 by Gerald Jonas: