Ramayana Culture — Text, Performance and Iconography

Ramayana Culture — Text, Performance and Iconography

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These essays, originally presented at an international conference, are in the forefront of the modern response to an ancient work that has gained a new critical and social relevance in contemporary scholarship. Approaching the Ramayana from several angles in an attempt to understand its aesthetic and ideological meaning, they examine the epic through the perspectives of textual criticism, art, architecture and film. Thereby they address critical issues such as the seminal status of Valmiki, the underlying problem of canonicity itself, the importance of other — so-called derivative — Ramayanas, the implications of gender representation, and the cultural manipulation of social ideals relating to the position of women and the idealisation of love that achieves its highest value in marriage. Using the methods of rigorous textual and historical investigation, each essay seeks not only to uncover the layers of meaning in the complex structure of the epic in its varied forms but also to situate it critically in the cultures of South and Southeast Asia.
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