Description - Myth and Mythmaking by Julia Leslie
The starting point for this work is that myths are made and remade - on a variety of topics and in widely differing contexts - in a vast continuum stretching from the earliest periods of historical time to the present day. Each study in the collection focuses on one particular point in this continuum: "a stretch of narrative" in the Odyssey and the Mahabharata that suggests a common Proto-Indo-European origin (Allen); the tellings and re-tellings of the seduction of Ahalya by the god Indra in early Sanskrit texts (Soehnen-Thieme); the development of the Parasurama figure and his increasingly strange relationship to mythical time (Thomas). Other topics covered include: some of the mythologies surrounding menstruation and the way each fits the discourse that frames it (Leslie); Jiva Gosvamin's controversial rewriting of the myth of the Krsna and the gopis (Brzezinski); the evolving hagiographies of the untouchable saint Raidas (Friedlander); the ideal of the sannyasi in the progressive construction of an "alternative masculinity" in the nationalist discourse of 19th-century Bengal (Chowdhury-Sengupta).
Finally the deliberate merging of the image of the European orientalist with the wisdom of the traditional pandit in the legendary figure of "Arthur Avalon" (Taylor) is discussed. The text argues that these are just some of the ways in which myths have been made, and made to function, in the rich cultural history of India.
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(234mm x 156mm x mm)
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
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