Publisher : Oxford University Press
ISBN-10 : 019755251X, 0197552501
ISBN-13 : 978-0197552513, 978-0197552506
ASIN : B0949HFWR3
The Ramayana, one of the two pre-eminent Hindu epics, has played a foundational role in many aspects of India's arts and social norms. For centuries, people learned this narrative by watching, listening, and participating in enactments of it. Although the Ramayana's first extant telling in Sanskrit dates back to ancient times, the story has continued to be retold and rethought through the centuries in many of India's regional languages, such as Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali. The narrative has provided the basis for enactments of its episodes in recitation, musical renditions, dance, and avant-garde performances. This volume introduces non-specialists to the Ramayana's major themes and complexities, as well as to the highly nuanced terms in Indian languages used to represent theater and performance.
Two introductions orient readers to the history of Ramayana texts by Tulsidas, Valmiki, Kamban, Sankaradeva, and others, as well as to the dramaturgy and aesthetics of their enactments. The contributed essays provide context-specific analyses of diverse Ramayana performance traditions and the narratives from which they draw. The essays are clustered around the shared themes of the politics of caste and gender; the representation of the anti-hero; contemporary re-interpretations of traditional narratives; and the presence of Ramayana discourse in daily life.