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They Sing Life: Anthology of Oral Poetry of the Primitive Tribes of India

Sitakant Mahapatra (Author)
Synopsis They Sing Life is an anthology of the oral poetry of selected primitive tribes of Eastern India. That region has a concentration of tribal communities with a rich mosaic of ethnic culture. Te translator-editor calls this poetry song-poems, whose two other dimensions are dance numbers and ritual performances. They have been arranged primarily around life-cycle rituals and the seasonal agricultural practices. The translations achieve such clear simplicity and directness that they make immediate connection with one’s life. They combine the sensibility of a major poet and the insight of an anthropologist. Some critics have compared them to C.M. Bowra’s Primitive Song. It is hoped they will prove invaluable to students of literature, anthropologists and all those who care for the survival of human values in a rapidly changing age of technology and the cyber world.
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About the author

Sitakant Mahapatra

Educated in Utkal, Allahabad and Cambridge Universities, Sitakant Mahapatra is a well-known anthropologist and a major voice in Indian poetry. He has been a fellow in the Universities of Cambridge and Harvard. Perhaps the best known interpreter of the oral poetry of the tribes of India he has earlier edited, with critical introductions, nine anthologies of such poetry. He has published numerous articles on the anthropology of development and oral literature in journals in India and abroad and chaired sessions in International Ethnological sciences. A doctorate in Development Anthropology, Oxford University Press ahs published his seminal works Modernisation and Ritual and The Realm of the Sacred: Verbal Symbolism and Ritual Structure. A Jnanpith Award winner for his poetry, he was earlier President of UNESCO’s Inter-governmental Committee of the World Decade for Cultural Development. Currently Chairman of the National Book Trust of India, he lives with his wife at Bhubaneswar, his home-town.

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Bibliographic information

Title They Sing Life: Anthology of Oral Poetry of the Primitive Tribes of India
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8121004071
length 167p., Appendices; Bibliography; Index; 23cm.