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The Cilappatikaram of Ilanko Atikal: Tale of an Anklet (Tamil epic poem) (New)

by Parthasarathy, R. (tr)

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Binding: Hardcover with dust jacket

Book ID: 9780231078481, 023107848X

Price: $37.50


esteemed poet R. Parthasarathy offers a memorable new translation of the renowned Tamil poem the Cilappatikaram, one of the world's literary masterpieces and India's finest epic in a language other than Sanskrit. Traditionally believed to have been composed in the 5th century C.E. by Ilanko Atikal, a Tamil prince, the Cilappatikaram - which means "the epic of an anklet" - is the compelling love story of Kannaki and Kovalan. The anklet is the emblem of the goddess Pattini, and the poem depicts the transformation of Kannaki into the goddess. Parthasarathy's introduction examines the poem in a comparative perspective with reference to the Sanskrit and Greek epics, and proposes that Ilanko rewrites the epic tradition by subverting its essentially androcentric bias. The postscript discusses the poetics of the Tamil epic in the light of the two great categories of Tamil discourse: okom, "inside", and puram, "outside", which represent two of the three distinct phases through which the narrative moves - the erotic and the heroic. To these, Ilanko adds a third phase, the mythic (puranam). The poem is divided into three books, named after the capitals of the three Tamil kingdoms that constitute the poem's setting. Love in all its aspects is explored in "The Book of Pukar". "The Book of Maturai" retells the myth of Kannaki's apotheosis into the goddess Pattini. The heroic aspects of kingship are the subject of "The Book of Vanci". The Cilappatikaram relates the story of Tamil civilization, but it is also a poem about marriage andfamily. Considered the Tamil national epic, it spells out in unforgettable poetry the issues that humanity has always confronted: love, war, evil, fate, and death, which have been the special concern of the epic from the beginning of time.

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