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1. cover
Title: Traditional oral epic: the Odyssey, Beowulf, and the Serbo-Croatian return song online access is available to everyone
Author: Foley, John Miles
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Literature | Literary Theory and Criticism | European Literature | Folklore and Mythology | Religion | Language and Linguistics | Classics | Medieval Studies
Publisher's Description: John Miles Foley offers an innovative and straightforward approach to the structural analysis of oral and oral-derived traditional texts. Professor Foley argues that to give the vast and complex body of oral "literature" its due, we must first come to terms with the endemic heterogeneity of traditional oral epics, with their individual histories, genres, and documents, as well as both the synchronic and diachronic aspects of their poetics.Until now, the emphasis in studies of oral traditional works has been placed on addressing the correspondences among traditions - shared structures of "formula," "theme," and "story-pattern." Traditional Oral Epic explores the incongruencies among traditions and focuses on the qualities specific to certain oral and oral-derived works. It is certain to inspire further research in this field.   [brief]
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2. cover
Title: Grounds for play: the Nauṭaṅkī theatre of North India online access is available to everyone
Author: Hansen, Kathryn
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Literature | Cultural Anthropology | South Asia
Publisher's Description: The nautanki performances of northern India entertain their audiences with often ribald and profane stories. Rooted in the peasant society of pre-modern India, this theater vibrates with lively dancing, pulsating drumbeats, and full-throated singing. In Grounds for Play , Kathryn Hansen draws on field research to describe the different elements of nautanki performance: music, dance, poetry, popular story lines, and written texts. She traces the social history of the form and explores the play of meanings within nautanki narratives, focusing on the ways important social issues such as political authority, community identity, and gender differences are represented in these narratives.Unlike other styles of Indian theater, the nautanki does not draw on the pan-Indian religious epics such as the Ramayana or the Mahabharata for its subjects. Indeed, their storylines tend to center on the vicissitudes of stranded heroines in the throes of melodramatic romance. Whereas nautanki performers were once much in demand, live performances now are rare and nautanki increasingly reaches its audiences through electronic media - records, cassettes, films, television. In spite of this change, the theater form still functions as an effective conduit in the cultural flow that connects urban centers and the hinterland in an ongoing process of exchange.   [brief]
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3. cover
Title: Epic traditions in the contemporary world: the poetics of community online access is available to everyone
Author: Beissinger, Margaret H
Published: University of California Press,  1999
Subjects: Literature | Classics | Classical Literature and Language | Comparative Literature
Publisher's Description: The epic tradition has been part of many different cultures throughout human history. This noteworthy collection of essays provides a comparative reassessment of epic and its role in the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds, as it explores the variety of contemporary approaches to the epic genre. Employing theoretical perspectives drawn from anthropology, literary studies, and gender studies, the authors examine familiar and less well known oral and literary traditions - ancient Greek and Latin, Arabic, South Slavic, Indian, Native American, Italian, English, and Caribbean - demonstrating the continuing vitality of the epic tradition.Juxtaposing work on the traditional canon of western epics with scholarship on contemporary epics from various parts of the world, these essays cross the divide between oral and literary forms that has long marked the approach to the genre. With its focus on the links among narrative, politics, and performance, the collection creates a new dialogue illustrating the sociopolitical significance of the epic tradition. Taken together, the essays raise compelling new issues for the study of epic, as they examine concerns such as national identity, gender, pedagogy, and the creation of the canon.   [brief]
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4. cover
Title: Performance artists talking in the eighties: sex, food, money/fame, ritual/death
Author: Montano, Linda 1942-
Published: University of California Press,  2001
Subjects: Art | Art History | Cinema and Performance Arts
Publisher's Description: Performance artist Linda Montano, curious about the influence childhood experience has on adult work, invited other performance artists to consider how early events associated with sex, food, money/fame, or death/ritual resurfaced in their later work. The result is an original and compelling talking performance that documents the production of art in an important and often misunderstood community. Among the more than 100 artists Montano interviewed from 1979 to 1989 were John Cage, Suzanne Lacy, Faith Ringgold, Dick Higgins, Annie Sprinkle, Allan Kaprow, Meredith Monk, Eric Bogosian, Adrian Piper, Karen Finley, and Kim Jones. Her discussions with them focused on the relationship between art and life, history and memory, the individual and society, and the potential for individual and social change. The interviews highlight complex issues in performance art, including the role of identity in performer-audience relationships and art as an exploration of everyday conventions rather than a demonstration of virtuosity.   [brief]
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5. cover
Title: The wrestler's body: identity and ideology in north India online access is available to everyone
Author: Alter, Joseph S
Published: University of California Press,  1992
Subjects: Anthropology | South Asia
Publisher's Description: The Wrestler's Body tells the story of a way of life organized in terms of physical self-development. While Indian wrestlers are competitive athletes, they are also moral reformers whose conception of self and society is fundamentally somatic. Using the insights of anthropology, Joseph Alter writes an ethnography of the wrestler's physique that elucidates the somatic structure of the wrestler's identity and ideology.Young men in North India may choose to join an akhara, or gymnasium, where they subject themselves to a complex program of physical and moral fitness. Alter's first-hand description of each detail of the wrestler's regimen offers a unique perspective on South Asian culture and society. Wrestlers feel that moral reform of Indian national character is essential and advocate their way of life as an ideology of national health. Everyone is called on to become a wrestler and build collective strength through self-discipline.   [brief]
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6. cover
Title: Listen to the heron's words: reimagining gender and kinship in North India online access is available to everyone
Author: Raheja, Gloria Goodwin 1950-
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | Folklore and Mythology | Women's Studies | South Asia
Publisher's Description: In many South Asian oral traditions, herons are viewed as duplicitous and conniving. These traditions tend also to view women as fragmented identities, dangerously split between virtue and virtuosity, between loyalties to their own families and those of their husbands. In women's songs, however, symbolic herons speak, telling of alternative moral perspectives shaped by women. The heron's words - and women's expressive genres more generally - criticize pervasive North Indian ideologies of gender and kinship that place women in subordinate positions. By inviting readers to "listen to the heron's words," the authors convey this shift in moral perspective and suggest that these spoken truths are compelling and consequential for the women in North India.The songs and narratives bear witness to a provocative cultural dissonance embedded in women's speech. This book reveals the power of these critical commentaries and the fluid and permeable boundaries between spoken words and the lives of ordinary village women.   [brief]
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7. cover
Title: Homer the theologian: Neoplatonist allegorical reading and the growth of the epic tradition
Author: Lamberton, Robert
Published: University of California Press,  1989
Subjects: Classics | Classical Literature and Language | Literary Theory and Criticism
Publisher's Description: Here is the first survey of the surviving evidence for the growth, development, and influence of the Neoplatonist allegorical reading of the Iliad and Odyssey. Professor Lamberton argues that this tradition of reading was to create new demands on subsequent epic and thereby alter permanently the nature of European epic. The Neoplatonist reading was to be decisive in the birth of allegorical epic in late antiquity and forms the background for the next major extension of the epic tradition found in Dante.   [brief]
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8. cover
Title: Inside the drama-house: Rama stories and shadow puppets in South India online access is available to everyone
Author: Blackburn, Stuart H
Published: University of California Press,  1996
Subjects: Anthropology | Asian Studies | South Asia | Cinema and Performance Arts | Hinduism
Publisher's Description: Stuart Blackburn takes the reader inside a little-known form of shadow puppetry in this captivating work about performing the Tamil version of the Ramayana epic. Blackburn describes the skill and physical stamina of the puppeteers in Kerala state in South India as they perform all night for as many as ten weeks during the festival season. The fact that these performances often take place without an audience forms the starting point for Blackburn's discussion - one which explores not only this important epic tale and its performance, but also the broader theoretical issues of text, interpretation, and audience.Blackburn demonstrates how the performers adapt the narrative and add their own commentary to re-create the story from a folk perspective. At a time when the Rama story is used to mobilize political movements in India, the puppeteers' elaborate recitation and commentary presents this controversial tale from another ethical perspective, one that advocates moral reciprocity and balance.While the study of folk narrative has until now focused on tales, tellers, and tellings, this work explores the importance of audience - absent or otherwise. Blackburn's elegant translations of the most dramatic and pivotal sequences of the story enhance our appreciation of this unique example of performance art.   [brief]
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9. cover
Title: White saris and sweet mangoes: aging, gender, and body in North India online access is available to everyone
Author: Lamb, Sarah 1960-
Published: University of California Press,  2000
Subjects: Anthropology | South Asia | Aging | Cultural Anthropology | Women's Studies
Publisher's Description: This rich ethnography explores beliefs and practices surrounding aging in a rural Bengali village. Sarah Lamb focuses on how villagers' visions of aging are tied to the making and unmaking of gendered selves and social relations over a lifetime. Lamb uses a focus on age as a means not only to open up new ways of thinking about South Asian social life, but also to contribute to contemporary theories of gender, the body, and culture, which have been hampered, the book argues, by a static focus on youth. Lamb's own experiences in the village are an integral part of her book and ably convey the cultural particularities of rural Bengali life and Bengali notions of modernity. In exploring ideals of family life and the intricate interrelationships between and within generations, she enables us to understand how people in the village construct, and deconstruct, their lives. At the same time her study extends beyond India to contemporary attitudes about aging in the United States. This accessible and engaging book is about deeply human issues and will appeal not only to specialists in South Asian culture, but to anyone interested in families, aging, gender, religion, and the body.   [brief]
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10. cover
Title: Chaucer's Dante: allegory and epic theater in The Canterbury tales online access is available to everyone
Author: Neuse, Richard
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Literature | English Literature | European Literature | Medieval Studies
Publisher's Description: Richard Neuse here explores the relationship between two great medieval epics, Dante's Divine Comedy and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales . He argues that Dante's attraction for Chaucer lay not so much in the spiritual dimension of the Divine Comedy as in the human.Borrowing Bertolt Brecht's phrase "epic theater," Neuse underscores the interest of both poets in presenting, as on a stage, flesh and blood characters in which readers would recognize the authors as well as themselves. As spiritual autobiography, both poems challenge the traditional medieval mode of allegory, with its tendency to separate body and soul, matter and spirit. Thus Neuse demonstrates that Chaucer and Dante embody a humanism not generally attributed to the fourteenth century.   [brief]
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11. cover
Title: Colonizing the body: state medicine and epidemic disease in nineteenth-century India
Author: Arnold, David 1946-
Published: University of California Press,  1993
Subjects: Asian Studies | South Asia | Asian History | Medicine | History
Publisher's Description: In this innovative analysis of medicine and disease in colonial India, David Arnold explores the vital role of the state in medical and public health activities, arguing that Western medicine became a critical battleground between the colonized and the colonizers.Focusing on three major epidemic diseases - smallpox, cholera, and plague - Arnold analyzes the impact of medical interventionism. He demonstrates that Western medicine as practiced in India was not simply transferred from West to East, but was also fashioned in response to local needs and Indian conditions.By emphasizing this colonial dimension of medicine, Arnold highlights the centrality of the body to political authority in British India and shows how medicine both influenced and articulated the intrinsic contradictions of colonial rule.   [brief]
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12. cover
Title: Many Rāmāyaṇas: the diversity of a narrative tradition in South Asia online access is available to everyone
Author: Richman, Paula
Published: University of California Press,  1991
Subjects: Religion | Hinduism | Cultural Anthropology | South Asia
Publisher's Description: Throughout Indian history, many authors and performers have produced, and many patrons have supported, diverse tellings of the story of the exiled prince Rama, who rescues his abducted wife by battling the demon king who has imprisoned her. The contributors to this volume focus on these "many" Ramayanas .While most scholars continue to rely on Valmiki's Sanskrit Ramayana as the authoritative version of the tale, the contributors to this volume do not. Their essays demonstrate the multivocal nature of the Ramayana by highlighting its variations according to historical period, political context, regional literary tradition, religious affiliation, intended audience, and genre. Socially marginal groups in Indian society - Telugu women, for example, or Untouchables from Madhya Pradesh - have recast the Rama story to reflect their own views of the world, while in other hands the epic has become the basis for teachings about spiritual liberation or the demand for political separatism. Historians of religion, scholars of South Asia, folklorists, cultural anthropologists - all will find here refreshing perspectives on this tale.   [brief]
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13. cover
Title: No aging in India: Alzheimer's, the bad family, and other modern things online access is available to everyone
Author: Cohen, Lawrence 1961-
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: Anthropology | Medical Anthropology | Aging | South Asia
Publisher's Description: From the opening sequence, in which mid-nineteenth-century Indian fishermen hear the possibility of redemption in an old woman's madness, No Aging in India captures the reader with its interplay of story and analysis. Drawing on more than a decade of ethnographic work, Lawrence Cohen links a detailed investigation of mind and body in old age in four neighborhoods of the Indian city of Varanasi (Banaras) with events and processes around India and around the world. This compelling exploration of senility - encompassing not only the aging body but also larger cultural anxieties - combines insights from medical anthropology, psychoanalysis, and postcolonial studies. Bridging literary genres as well as geographic spaces, Cohen responds to what he sees as the impoverishment of both North American and Indian gerontologies - the one mired in ambivalence toward demented old bodies, the other insistent on a dubious morality tale of modern families breaking up and abandoning their elderly. He shifts our attention irresistibly toward how old age comes to matter in the constitution of societies and their narratives of identity and history.   [brief]
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14. cover
Title: India
Author: Wolpert, Stanley A 1927-
Published: University of California Press,  1990
Subjects: History | South Asia | Asian History
Publisher's Description: The history of India is the engrossing story of an ancient civilization, reborn as a modern nation. More a continent than a single nation, India is home to over one-fifth of humanity, yet it remains a mystery to most non-Indians, barely appreciated and poorly understood. Stanley Wolpert's India provides a much-needed, concise overview of Indian history and culture. His new preface brings the book up to date, discussing national elections, the economic effects of the new globalization, and the consequences of joining the nuclear arms race.   [brief]
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15. cover
Title: A flowering tree: and other oral tales from India A.K. Ramanujan ; edited with a preface by Stuart Blackburn and Alan Dundes online access is available to everyone
Author: Ramanujan, A. K 1929-
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Literature | Fiction | Language and Linguistics | Asian Literature | Folklore and Mythology | South Asia
Publisher's Description: This book of oral tales from the south Indian region of Kannada represents the culmination of a lifetime of research by A. K. Ramanujan, one of the most revered scholars and writers of his time. The result of over three decades' labor, this long-awaited collection makes available for the first time a wealth of folktales from a region that has not yet been adequately represented in world literature. Ramanujan's skill as a translator, his graceful writing style, and his profound love and understanding of the subject enrich the tales that he collected, translated, and interpreted.With a written literature recorded from about 800 A.D., Kannada is rich in mythology, devotional and secular poetry, and more recently novels and plays. Ramanujan, born in Mysore in 1929, had an intimate knowledge of the language. In the 1950s, when working as a college lecturer, he began collecting these tales from everyone he could - servants, aunts, schoolteachers, children, carpenters, tailors. In 1970 he began translating and interpreting the tales, a project that absorbed him for the next three decades. When Ramanujan died in 1993, the translations were complete and he had written notes for about half of the tales.With its unsentimental sympathies, its laughter, and its delightfully vivid sense of detail, the collection stands as a significant and moving monument to Ramanujan's memory as a scholar and writer.   [brief]
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16. cover
Title: Contentious traditions: the debate on Sati in colonial India
Author: Mani, Lata 1956-
Published: University of California Press,  1998
Subjects: History | South Asia | Postcolonial Studies
Publisher's Description: Contentious Traditions analyzes the debate on sati , or widow burning, in colonial India. Though the prohibition of widow burning in 1829 was heralded as a key step forward for women's emancipation in modern India, Lata Mani argues that the women who were burned were marginal to the debate and that the controversy was over definitions of Hindu tradition, the place of ritual in religious worship, the civilizing missions of colonialism and evangelism, and the proper role of the colonial state. Mani radically revises colonialist as well as nationalist historiography on the social reform of women's status in the colonial period and clarifies the complex and contradictory character of missionary writings on India.The history of widow burning is one of paradox. While the chief players in the debate argued over the religious basis of sati and the fine points of scriptural interpretation, the testimonials of women at the funeral pyres consistently addressed the material hardships and societal expectations attached to widowhood. And although historiography has traditionally emphasized the colonial horror of sati , a fascinated ambivalence toward the practice suffused official discussions. The debate normalized the violence of sati and supported the misconception that it was a voluntary act of wifely devotion.Mani brilliantly illustrates how situated feminism and discourse analysis compel a rewriting of history, thus destabilizing the ways we are accustomed to look at women and men, at "tradition," custom, and modernity.   [brief]
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17. cover
Title: The best of the Argonauts: the redefinition of the epic hero in book one of Apollonius's Argonautica online access is available to everyone
Author: Clauss, James Joseph
Published: University of California Press,  1993
Subjects: Classics | Literature | Classical Literature and Language | Literary Theory and Criticism
Publisher's Description: This revelatory exploration of Book One of the Argonautica rescues Jason from his status as the ineffectual hero of Apollonius' epic poem. James J. Clauss argues that by posing the question, "Who is the best of the Argonauts?" Apollonius redefines the epic hero and creates, in Jason, a man more realistic and less awesome than his Homeric predecessors, one who is vulnerable, dependent on the help of others, even morally questionable, yet ultimately successful.In bringing Apollonius' "curious and demanding poem" to life, Clauss illuminates two features of the poet's narrative style: his ubiquitous allusions to the poetry of others, especially Homer, and the carefully balanced structural organization of his episodes. The poet's subtextual interplay is explored, as is his propensity for underscoring the manipulation of the poetry of others through ring composition.   [brief]
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18. cover
Title: Virgil's epic technique online access is available to everyone
Author: Heinze, Richard 1867-1929
Published: University of California Press,  1994
Subjects: Classics | Literature in Translation
Publisher's Description: Heinze's study, originally published in German in 1903, remains a classic of Virgil scholarship. This translation makes the book available in English for the first time.
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19. cover
Title: Aboriginal slavery on the Northwest Coast of North America
Author: Donald, Leland 1942-
Published: University of California Press,  1997
Subjects: Anthropology | Cultural Anthropology | Pacific Rim Studies
Publisher's Description: With his investigation of slavery on the Northwest Coast of North America, Leland Donald makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the aboriginal cultures of this area. He shows that Northwest Coast servitude, relatively neglected by researchers in the past, fits an appropriate cross-cultural definition of slavery. Arguing that slaves and slavery were central to these hunting-fishing-gathering societies, he points out how important slaves were to the Northwest Coast economies for their labor and for their value as major items of exchange. Slavery also played a major role in more famous and frequently analyzed Northwest Coast cultural forms such as the potlatch and the spectacular art style and ritual systems of elite groups.The book includes detailed chapters on who owned slaves and the relations between masters and slaves; how slaves were procured; transactions in slaves; the nature, use, and value of slave labor; and the role of slaves in rituals. In addition to analyzing all the available data, ethnographic and historic, on slavery in traditional Northwest Coast cultures, Donald compares the status of Northwest Coast slaves with that of war captives in other parts of traditional Native North America.   [brief]
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20. cover
Title: Roots of North Indian Shīʿism in Iran and Iraq: religion and state in Awadh, 1722-1859 online access is available to everyone
Author: Cole, Juan Ricardo
Published: University of California Press,  1989
Subjects: Asian Studies
Publisher's Description: In this pioneering study of the Twelver Shi'i branch of Islam prevalent in Iraq and Iran, J. R. I. Cole traces the influence of Shi'i rule on the development of religious communalism and conflict in the North Indian State of Awadh (Oudh). He also examines the relationship of the Shi'i clergy to the state and the clerical reaction to British imperialism and capitalism.Based on research in rare manuscripts and in archives, the book reveals that the Shi'i clergy advocated policies that caused resentment among Sunnis and Hindus, thereby promoting religious communalism and setting the stage for modern communal conflict. The Shi'i learned men took government posts in support of Awadh's Shi'i nawabs and shahs; Awadh state support, in turn, helped transform Shi'ism from a persecuted "sect" to a dominant, if still minority, religious establishment.Sociologically, the book draws attention to the specific role of the state in defining "sect" and "church." It also argues the importance of class divisions within the Shi'i community, showing that the dominant clerical ideology was often not accepted by the laboring strata. Cole's study supports the view that Muslim communalism in Northern India had genuine historical roots and was not simply an elite strategy of modern Muslim politicians. Contrary to the arguments of some writers and to the image projected by Iran's current ayatullahs, he claims that most Shi'i clergy did not play a role of opposition to the state.   [brief]
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