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Disorienting Dharma: Ethics and the Aesthetics of Suffering in the Mahabharata (Aar Religions in Translation)
by:Emily T. Hudson
Winner of the Award for Excellence in Religion: Textual Studies from the American Academy of ReligionDisorienting Dharma explores the relationship between ethics, aesthetics, and religion in classical Indian literature and literary theory by focusing on one of the most celebrated and enigmatic texts to emerge from the Sanskrit epic tradition: the...
Winner of the Award for Excellence in Religion: Textual Studies from the American Academy of ReligionDisorienting Dharma explores the relationship between ethics, aesthetics, and religion in classical Indian literature and literary theory by focusing on one of the most celebrated and enigmatic texts to emerge from the Sanskrit epic tradition: the Mahabharata. This text - one of the principal sources for the study of South Asian religious, social, and political thought - is considered a major transmitter of dharma, or moral, social, and religious duty. But basic questions such as precisely how the epic is communicating its ideas about dharma and precisely what it is saying about it are still being explored. In this book, Emily Hudson examines these issues through a variety of interpretive lenses including Sanskrit literary theory, reader-response theory, and narrative ethics. One of the first book-length studies to view the subject through the lens of Indian aesthetics, her work brings to light one of the primary narrative tensions of the epic: the vexed relationship between dharma and suffering. Hudson also seeks to make the epic interesting and accessible to a wider audience. She demonstrates how reading the Mahabharata, perhaps the most harrowing story in world literature, can be a fascinating, disorienting, and ultimately transformative experience.
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