1st Edition

Vijayanagara Voices
Exploring South Indian History and Hindu Literature

ISBN 9781138266490
Published February 27, 2017 by Routledge
262 Pages

USD $62.95

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Book Description

The Vijayanagara Empire flourished in South India between 1336 and 1565. Conveying the depth and creativity of Hindu religious and literary expression during that time, Vijayanagara Voices explores some of the contributions made by poets, singer-saints, and philosophers. Through translations and discussions of their lives and times, Jackson presents the voices of these cultural figures and reflects on the concerns of their era, looking especially into the vivid images in their works and their legends. He examines how these images convey both spiritual insights and physical experiences with memorable candour. The studies also raise intriguing questions about the empire's origins and its response to Muslim invaders, its 'Hinduness', and reasons for its ultimate decline. Vijayanagara Voices is a book about patterns in history, literature and life in South India. By examining the culture's archetypal displays, by understanding the culture in its own terms, and by comparing associated images and ideas from other cultures, this book offers unique insights into a rich and influential period in Indian history.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The legend of Vijayanagara's historical origins; Vidyaranya: sage, political adviser, music theorist, philosopher and biographer; Reflections on Vidyaranya, and the 'Hinduness' of Islamicate Vijayanagara; The Goddess' sword: Queen Ganga Devi's rousing story; and the archetype; Two poets of the people: Shripadaraya and Atukuri Molla; Popular worldly wisdom in the oral literature of Vemana and Baddena; Krishnadevaraya in the night kitchen: realizing his power at the peak of chaos' edge; Krishnadevaraya's legendary court jester and his dancing women; Poet: Kanakadasa's eloquent responses to caste prejudice; Achyutaraya: the coronation after the coronation; Conclusion: bad blood - wounded pride and retaliations; Index.

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William J. Jackson is Professor of Religious Studies at Indiana University-Purdue, University of Indianapolis, USA.


'Jackson's writing style is as graceful and refined as the subjects on whom he is writing. This is a major contribution to Hindu studies and to Telugu/Kannada literature. The author lets the subjects speak for themselves in an elegant and lucid narrative, at the same time situating them in South Indian history and weaving a thick unity of thought and purpose among them.' Professor S. S. Rama Rao Pappu, Miami University, USA 'This book is a useful contribution to Telugu-Kannada literature and Hindu studies...' Acta Comparanda 'This monograph makes for interesting reading. It is a valuable contribution to the corpus of research on Vijayanagara history and will be of interest to specialists of this period. However, even the non-specialist will find plentiful treasures in it.' South Asian Studies