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Odissi and the Geeta Govinda

Ileana Citaristi (Author)

 The book attempts to trace an overview of the different components that define the cultural landscape of the state of Odisha in relation to its history, religious cults, art, and literature and to link the development of the various aspects to the role played over the centuries by the Geeta Govinda poem in its different manifestations.


From being an important component of the rituals performed in the Jagannath Temple to becoming an essential part of the people’s daily lives and artistic expressions, this immortal poem has exercised its influence on the cultural landscape of the state from its early inception in the twelfth century until present times.


Religious beliefs, visual representations, performative expressions, and literary compositions have been influenced by the strong emotional appeal contained in its verses. Its musical structure, spiritual underline and histrionic content have been an essential font of inspiration in the process of the rediscovery of a cultural identity during the last century and continue to exercise a strong influence on the performing arts of the present times.


Among all the art forms, the classical style of Odissi dance, the way it has been re-structured in the middle of the last century, is perhaps the one which bears the closest contact with the poem, almost being synonymous with it. The dance’s lyrical quality and its emotional appeal steeped in a long history of association with devotional and spiritual values make it an ideal form of visual expression for the literary content of the poem

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About the author

Ileana Citaristi

Italian by birth, Ileana Citaristi has done her doctoral research on 'Psychoanalysis and Eastern Mythology'. She came to Indian dance after years of experience in the traditional as well as experimental theatre of Europe.

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Bibliographic information

Title Odissi and the Geeta Govinda
Format Hardcover
Date published: 08.03.2022
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789391928575
length 172p.