Paperback / softback
March 6, 2008
4 b&w photos, 1 maps
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6.13 Inches (US)
.95 Pounds (US)
$26.00 USD, £20.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Ramayana Stories in Modern South India

An Anthology

Edited by Paula Richman
While some religious texts may remain static over time, the Ramayana epic has been retold in a variety of ways over the centuries and across South Asia. Some of the narrative's most probing and innovative retellings have appeared in print in the last 100 years in the region of South India. This collection brings together, for the first time, modern retellings translated from the four major South Indian languages and from genres as diverse as drama, short stories, poetry, and folk song. The selections focus on characters generally seen as stigmatized or marginalized, and on themes largely overlooked in previous scholarship. Editor Paula Richman demonstrates that twentieth-century authors have used retellings of the Ramayana to question caste and gender inequality in provocative ways. This engaging anthology includes translations of 22 primary texts along with interpretive essays that provide background and frameworks for understanding the stories.

About the Author

Paula Richman is William H. Danforth Professor of South Asian Religions at Oberlin College. She is editor of Many Ramayanas: The Diversity of a Narrative Tradition in South Asia and Questioning Ramayanas, a South Asian Tradition.


"One finds no greater epic narrative in Asia than the Ramayana, the story of Prince Rama's marriage to Sita, their 14-year exile, and his mighty conquest of the ten-headed demon Ravana. This epic traveled from northern India throughout the subcontinent and over the spice route and Silk Road, and still influences literatures and arts throughout Asia. In focusing on South India, Richman (South Asian religions, Oberlin College explores patterns among modern retellings of the epic over the past 100 years in the four major languages of that region: Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Malayalam. The anthology includes short stories, poetry, songs, poems, and plays foregrounding Rama's lovely wife Sita in various contexts; formerly marginalized or stigmatized characters, including some irascible ascetics; and the escapades of several extraordinary demons who inhabit this miraculous tale. By focusing on these three facets, Richman hopes to show, as she writes in her introduction, "how retellings of the story of Rama and Sita play a vital role in Indian life today and reveal yet another facet of the gem we call Ramayana tradition." Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty interested in South Asian literature and religion. —Choice"—T. S. Yamada, California State University, Long Beach, March 2009

"On the surface. . . it might appear challenging for an anthology of Ramayana Stories in Modern South India to tell us something new about the epic. This is, however, precisely what Paula Richman has been able to do through this lively and engaging volume. . . . The translations . . . are lucid and of consistently high quality. . . . The utility of this book for active undergraduate learning cannot be overstated. August, 2011"—H-Asia

". . . Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty interested in South Asian literature and religion. March 2009"—Choice

"A refreshing addition to the scholarly and literary works in Indic studies. . . . The organization of the book successfully fulfills the needs of all who are interested in learning more about Indian society, its literature and culture, and about Ramayana. One does not need to be familiar with Ramayana or Ramkatha to appreciate this book. . . . Richman's work is an excellent study with a rich selection of writings and viewpoints on the ancient epic Ramayana. All of the works featured in the book are thought provoking and reach out to readers and scholars in a variety of disciplines, including but not limited to the fields of folklore, anthropology, women's studies, comparative literature, film, and theater.February 16, 2010"—Journal of Folklore Research

"This collection makes a unique contribution to scholarship on Indian literature. It is clearly organized around provocative themes that are not the usual focus of Ramayana studies, illuminating not only the 'text' of the Ramayana, but aspects of South Indian history and culture as well."—Elaine Craddock, Southwestern University

9780253219534 : ramayana-stories-in-modern-south-india-richman
Paperback / softback
288 Pages
$26.00 USD

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