The Life of a Text: Performing the Rāmcaritmānas of Tulsidas
University of California Press, 1991 - Criticism, Textual - 469 pages
The Life of a Text offers a vivid portrait of one community's interaction with its favorite text--the epic Ramcaritmanas--and the way in which performances of the epic function as a flexible and evolving medium for cultural expression. Anthropologists, historians of religion, and readers interested in the culture of North India and the performance arts will find breadth of subject, careful scholarship, and engaging presentation in this unique and beautifully illustrated examination of Hindi culture.
The most popular and influential text of Hindi-speaking North India, the epic Ramcaritmanas is a sixteenth century retelling of the Ramayana story by the poet Tulsidas. This masterpiece of pre-modern Hindi literature has always reached its largely illiterate audiences primarily through oral performance including ceremonial recitation, folksinging, oral exegesis, and theatrical representation. Drawing on fieldwork in Banaras, Lutgendorf breaks new ground by capturing the range of performance techniques in vivid detail and tracing the impact of the epic in its contemporary cultural context.
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1 The Text and the Research Context
2 The Text in Recitation and Song
The Development of M257nasKath257
4 The Art of M257nasKath257
The Text Enacted
6 The Text in a Changing Society
Glossary of Names with Transliteration
Common terms and phrases
activities appears audience authority Ayodhya Banaras became become begins Brahman brother century chant commentary complete concern context continued course crowd culture daily described developed devotees divine early editions epic especially example exposition expounders expression fact festival four give given groups Hanuman hear Hindi Hindu important India interpretation katha kathd kind king known later less listeners living Lord Manas meaning Mishra narrative noted observed offered oral original passage patrons performance period play poet popular practice present production Ram's Ramayan Ramlila Ramnagar recitation reference reflected religious remains represent ritual sadhus Sanskrit seems Shiva Singh singing Sita social sometimes story style suggests temple term tion told tradition translation Tulsi's Tulsidas usually Vaishnava verses vyas Yajnavalkya