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Dr. Martha Selby, Chair 120 INNER CAMPUS DR STOP G9300 WCH 4.134 78712-1251 • 512-471-5811

Fall 2008

ANS 320 • Narrative in Pre-Modern India

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
31250 TTh
9:30 AM-11:00 AM
Gar 1.126

Course Description

This course will survey some of the many types of narrative featured in pre-modern Indian literature, with an emphasis on the "medieval" period from approximately 1000 to 1700 AD. Texts will be read in English translation and will include selections from the following texts and genres: Sanskrit purana narrative (Brahmavaivarta purana); Sufi romance (Madhumalati of Manjhan); Ramayana versions (especially Ramcaritmanas of Tulsidas, contrasted with Valmiki); "tales of a vampire" (Baital pacisi in Lallulal's Hindi version); "folk tales" (Pancatantra and derivatives, and Hir Ranjha from Panjabi); Mughal memoirs (Jahangir-namah) paralleled by a British diary recounting the same events (The embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India, 1615-19); autobiography (Ardhakathanak of Banarasidas); compressed or "given" narrative situations underlying love poetry; and hagiography (Caitanya caritamrta of Krsnadas Kaviraj). Through discussion of these texts, supported by secondary literature, we will analyze the varying purposes and aesthetic effects of this diverse but very rich corpus of literature.

Grading Policy

Class participation 20%; Three textual commentaries @ 20% = 60%; Term paper 20%


Arnold, David, and Stuart Blackburn. Telling lives in India: Biography, autobiography, and life history. Bloomington, Indian University Press, 2004. Bose, Mandakranta, ed. The Ramayana Revisited. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2004. Burton, Richard (trans.). Vikam and the vampire [details]; vampire Dimock, Edward C., (trans.) and Tony K. Stuart (ed.), Caitanya caritamrta of Krsnadas Kaviraj, Cambridge, Harvard University, C. 1999 Eaton, Richard M., India's Islamic Tradition, 711-1750. New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2003. Foster, William (ed.), The embassy of Sir Thomas Roe to India 1615-19/ [Reprint of 1926 edn.] Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1990 Hill, W.C.H., (trans.), The holy lake of the acts of Rama: a translation of Tulsi Dass. Ramcaritmanas, Bombay, Oxford University Press, 1971. Lath, Mukunf (trans.), Half and tale [ the Ardhakathanaka of Banarsidas]: a study in the interrelationship between autobiography and history. Jaipur: Rajasthan Prakrit Bharati Sansthan, 1981. Manjhan, Madhumalati: an India Sufi Romance, trans. Aditya Behl and Simon Weightman with Shyam Manohar Pandey. Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2000. Shackle, Christopher, and Rupert Snell (eds.), The Indian Narrative: Perspectives and Patterns. Wiesbaden, Harrassowitz, 1992. Thackston, Wheeler M. (ed. And trans.) The Jahangirnama: memoirs of Jahangir, emperor of India. Washington, Freer Gallery of Art; and New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.


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