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Text and Tradition in South India
Text and Tradition in South India
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Velcheru Narayana Rao - Author
Sanjay Subrahmanyam - Introduction
SUNY series in Hindu Studies
Price: $85.00 
Hardcover - 506 pages
Release Date: July 2017
ISBN10: N/A
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-6775-7

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Essays on Telugu and South Indian literature and culture by distinguished Telugu scholar Narayana Rao.

Velcheru Narayana Rao’s contribution to understanding Indian cultural history, literary production, and intellectual life—specifically from the vantage of the Andhra region—has few parallels. He is one of the very rare scholars to be able to reflect magisterially on the precolonial and colonial periods. He moves easily between Sanskrit and the vernacular traditions, and between the worlds of orality and script. This is because of his mastery of the “classical” Telugu tradition. As Sanjay Subrahmanyam puts it in his Introduction, “To command nearly a thousand years of a literary tradition is no small feat, but more important still is VNR’s ability constantly to offer fresh readings and provocative frameworks for interpretation.”

The essays and reflections in Text and Tradition in South India bring together the diverse and foundational contributions made by Narayana Rao to the rewriting of India’s cultural and literary history. The book is for anyone interested in the history of Indian ideas, the social and cultural history of South India, and the massive intellectual traditions of the subcontinent.


Velcheru Narayana Rao is Visweswara Rao and Sita Koppaka Professor in Telugu Culture, Literature, and History at Emory University. His many books include a translation (with David Shulman) of Piṅgaḷi Sūranna’s The Demon’s Daughter: A Love Story from South India, also published by SUNY Press, and Textures of Time: Writing History in South India 1600–1800 (coauthored with David Shulman and Sanjay Subrahmanyam).


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Table of Contents

Sources of Publication
Preface and Acknowledgments

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: VNR—Some Introductory Remarks

1. Multiple Literary Cultures in Telugu: Court, Temple,and Public

2. Notes on Political Thought in Medieval and Early Modern South India

3. Purāṇa as Brahminic Ideology

4. Coconut and Honey: Sanskrit and Telugu in Medieval Andhra

5. Multiple Lives of a Text: The Sumati Śatakamu in Colonial Andhra

6. When Does Sīta Cease to be Sīta: Notes Toward a Cultural Grammar of Indian Narratives

7. A Rāmāyaṇa of Their Own: Women’s Oral Tradition in Telugu

8. The Politics of Telugu Ramayanas: Colonialism, Print Culture, and Literary Movements

9. Epics and Ideologies: Six Telugu Folk Epics

10. Texture and Authority: Telugu Riddles and Enigmas

11. Buddhism in Modern Andhra: Literary Representations from Telugu

12. The Indigenous Modernity of Gurajada Apparao and Fakir Mohan Senapati

13. Purāṇa

14. A Day in the Life of a Housewife: “Sita Locked Out”

15. Urmila Sleeps: A Ramayana Song that Women in Andhra Sing


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