The Rāmāyana, an ancient epic of India, with audiences across vast stretches of time and geography, continues to influence numberless readers socially and morally through its many re-tellings. Made available in English for the first time, the 16th century version presented here is by Candrāvatī, a woman poet from Bengal. It is a highly individual rendition as a tale told from a woman's point of view which, instead of celebrating masculine heroism, laments the suffering of women caught in the play of male ego.
This book presents a translation and commentary on the text, with an extensive introduction that scrutinizes its social and cultural context and correlates its literary identity with its ideological implications. Taken together, the narrative and the critical study offered here expand the understanding both of the history of women’s self-expression in India and the cultural potency of the epic tale. The book is of interest equally to students and researchers of South Asian narratives, Rāmāyana studies and gender issues.
Table of Contents
1. Introduction 2. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 1 3. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 2 4. Candrāvatī Rāmāyana Part 3 5. Appendix 1. Vālmīki Rāmāyana 6. Appendix 2. Krttivāsī Rāmāyana 7. Appendix 3. Narrative Parallels and Omissions 8. Appendix 4. Nayāncāñd Ghos's Candrāvatī 9. Appendix 5. Glossary
Mandakranta Bose is Professor Emerita at the University of British Columbia, Canada. She has published widely on the classical performing arts and literature of India, gender studies and Hinduism.
Sarika Priyadarshini Bose is Lecturer in English at the University of British Columbia, Canada. Her research interests and publications include Victorian drama and theatre, children’s literature, gender studies and composition.
"This book is a useful contribution to world literature in the sense that it in a way brings to light a work that was mostly orally transmitted, and that too in a vernacular language, so that now the non-Bengali speaker has access to it. It can therefore be of interest to any Ramayana enthusiast, to scholars studying Bengali/Indian literature(s), and/or women’s writings, but also to the general public, because the whole book, including (if not especially) the translation, is accessible to the non-specialist as well."
Suganya Anandakichenin, E´cole francaise d’Extreˆme-Orient
The Journal of Hindu Studies 2015;8:323–324