Extraordinary Child: Poems from a South Indian Devotional Genre
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280pp. May 1997
Extraordinary Child: Poems from a South Indian Devotional Genre
Author: Richman, Paula;
For hundreds of years Tamil poets have been composing devotional texts in which they adopt the voice of a mother and address praises to an extraordinary child. The poems, called pillaittamil (literally "Tamil for a child"), form a major genre of Tamil literature. Since the twelfth century, when the first known pillaittamil was written in honor of a Chola king, many of these poems have been composed in praise of Murugan and South Indian goddesses, as well as saints and venerated monastic abbots. In recent times pillaittamils have been dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad, the Virgin Mary, and Baby Jesus, as well as notable political figures and moviestars. Extraordinary Child provides a sampler of translations from, and analysis of, seven pillaittamils of particular religious, aesthetic, or political significance.
SHAPS Library of Translations
School of Hawaiian, Asian & Pacific Studies, UH
"Delightful and engaging." --Journal of Asian Studies, February 2001

"Lucidly written. The translations are a model of judiciousness." --Religious Studies Review

"The sweep of the book, both in terms of centuries covered and in terms of religious (and at the end, political/cultural) communities represented is wonderful. This is not a lean book, and the quick progression from chapter to chapter is sometimes quite breathtaking." --John Stratton Hawley

Author: Richman, Paula;
School of Hawaiian, Asian & Pacific Studies, UH



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