Mahabharata and Ramayana: The Sanskrit Epics and Indian Visual Culture|
Spring 2010 not offered
This course focuses on the multifaceted interface between literary text and visual image in traditional South Asia. Our primary focus is on the two Sanskrit epics, MAHABHARATA and RAMAYANA. Both epics will be read in abridged translation to provide familiarity with the overall narrative structure and thematic concerns of the two texts, and a number of excerpts from unabridged translations will be studied in detail to arrive at a fuller understanding of the contents of key episodes and of the style and texture of the two works. The first part of the course addresses a series of questions pertaining to the literary versions of the MAHABHARATA and RAMAYANA: What is epic as a genre, and what are its social roles? Do the MAHABHARATA and RAMAYANA manifest similarities that permit us to identify a distinctive Indian epic type? What are the connections between these epics and the early history of India? Why, and how, did the written texts we have today come to be redacted from bodies of oral tradition? What further transformations did the Sanskrit epics undergo as they were dramatized in the Sanskrit theater, recast in the form of lyric poetry, and translated into various vernacular languages such as Hindi, Tamil, and Telugu? In the second part of the course, we will shift our focus from epic as literature to consider different types of visual embodiments of the epics, including sculptural renditions of epic characters and scenes on the walls of Hindu temples, painted illustrations in the manuscripts of the epics produced at Mughal and Rajput courts, and modern cinematic transformations of the epics in Indian film and television. This course requires no prior knowledge of Indian literature, history, or art and may serve as an effective introduction to the culture and civilization of South Asia.
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|Course Format: Lecture / Discussion||Grading Mode: Graded|
||Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (ARHA-MN)(ARHA)(ARST)(SAST-MN)
Chakravarthi V. Narasimhan, tr. THE MAHABHARATA: AN ENGLISH VERSION BASED ON SELECTED VERSES
Swami Venkatesananda, tr. THE CONCISE RAMAYANA OF VALMIKI
Walter J. Ong, ORALITY AND LITERACY: THE TECHNOLOGIZING OF THE WORD
W.J. Johnson, tr. THE SAUPTIKAPARVAN OF THE MAHABHARATA: THE MASSACRE AT NIGHT
Romila Thapar, SAKUNTALA: TEXTS, READINGS, HISTORIES
Vidya Dehejia, ed. THE LEGEND OF RAMA: ARTISTIC VISIONS
A course packet containing the following articles and excerpts:
"The Lists of Contents", "Puloman", and "The Descent of the First Generations", from J.A.B. van Buitenen, tr. The Mahabharata, I. The Book of the Beginning.
John D. Smith, "Old Indian: The two Sanskrit Epics", in Traditions of Heroic and Epic Poetry. Volume One: The Traditions. ed. A.T.Hatto.
A. K. Ramanujan and Edwin Gerow, "Indian Poetics", ch. 3 of The Literatures of India, an Introduction. ed. Edward C. Dimock et al.
Sheldon Pollock, "India in the Vernacular Millennium: literary culture and polity, 1000-1500".
Philip Lutgendorf, "Words Made Flesh: the Banaras Ramlila as Epic Commentary", in Boundaries of the Text: Epic Performances in South and Southeast Asia. Edited by Joyce B. Flueckiger and Laurie J. Sears.
Sheldon Pollock, "Ramayana and Political Imagination in India".
John M. Fritz, "Vijayanagara: Authority and Meaning of a South Indian Imperial Capital".
Anna Dallapiccola, John M. Fritz, George Michell, and S. Rajasekhara, The Ramachandra Temple at Vijayanagara, sections 1-8, New Delhi: Manohar and AIIS, 1992. pp. 3-23.
Films to be studied include:
Bababhai Mistry, MAHABHARAT
K.K.Rao, NARTHANASALA ("THE DANCE PAVILION")
Shyam Benegal, KALYUG
Peter Brook, THE MAHABHARATA
|Examinations and Assignments: |
Two short essays; midterm and final
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