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- DescriptionAfter a sleepless night spent longing for his absent wife Sita, Rama, god-prince and future king, surveyed his army camps on a clear autumn morning and spied a white goose playing in a pond of lotus flowers. Seeing this radiant creature who so resembled his lost beloved, he began to plead with the bird to send her a message of love and fierce revenge. This is the setting of the Hamsasandesa ( A Message for the Goose ), a sandesa or messenger poem by the medieval saint-poet and philosopher Vedantedesika, a seminal figure for the Srivaisnava religious community of Tamil Nadu, South India, and a master poet in Sanskrit and Tamil. In The Flight of Love, Steven P. Hopkins situates Vedantedesika's Sanskrit sandesa within the wider comparative context of South Indian and Sri Lankan literatures. He traces the significance of messenger poetry in the construction of sacred landscapes in pre-modern South Asia and explores the ways the piece re-envisions the pan-Indian story of Rama and Sita, rooting his protagonists in a turbulent emotional world where separation, overwhelming desire, and anticipated bliss, are written into the living particularized bodies of lover and beloved, in the messenger goose and in the landscapes surrounding them. Hopkins's translation of the Hamsasandesa into fluid American English verse is framed by a comparative introduction, including an extended essay on translation, detailed linguistic tes, and an expanded thematic commentary that weaves together traditional religious interpretations of the poem with themes of contemporary literary relevance. Equally the work of a scholar and a poet, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of South Asian studies, comparative religion, and Indian literatures.
- Author BiographySteven P. Hopkins is Professor of Religion and Coordinator of Asian Studies at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. He is the author of Singing the Body of God: The Hymns of Vedantedesika in Their South Indian Tradition and An Ornament for Jewels: Love Poems for the Lord of Gods by Vedantedesika, which was awarded the 2010 South Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies A.K. Ramanujan Book Prize for Translation.
- PublisherOxford University Press Inc
- Date of Publication02/05/2016
- SubjectLiterary Criticism
- Place of PublicationNew York
- Country of PublicationUnited States
- ImprintOxford University Press Inc
- Weight443 g
- Width149 mm
- Height218 mm
- Spine26 mm
- Translated bySteven P. Hopkins
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