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When Men Speak as Women: Vocal Masquerade in Indo-Muslim Poetry

Carla Petievich (Author)
Synopsis A lovelorn concubine, a young woman on the verge of marriage, a married woman in love with another, a woman in love with God. This collection presents unusual and lesser-known love lyrics from the Indo-Muslim literary tradition that have given voice over the last five centuries to the erotic and the spiritual, the mundane and the sublime. Translated from early Punjabi as well as Dakani and Lakhnavi Urdu, these poems were authored by men but narrated in the feminine voice. Largely forgotten today, the poets hailed from widely divergent milieux--from the Royal Courts of the Deccan, the urban sophistication of Lucknow to rural Punjab--bringing a remarkable versatility to their poetry. Taken together, these marginalized poems trace a history of the aesthetics of love that has roots simultaneously in the mystical poetry of Sufism and in Bhakti devotionalism. Petievich argues that the poems, through their marginality, reflect how the Urdu literary canon has been constructed around concerns of gender, region, and ethnic nationalism. The book is divided into three sections. Beginning with a comprehensive overview, Petievich prefaces each section with descriptive passages and profiles of the poets where possible. Each poem appears in the original Urdu alongside the English translation and transliteration, making this a delightful read for connoisseurs of Urdu poetry as well as the enthusiastic beginner. It will also be useful for students and scholars of South Asian literature, culture studies, history, and religion.
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Bibliographic information

Title When Men Speak as Women: Vocal Masquerade in Indo-Muslim Poetry
Format Hardcover
Date published: 03.10.2007
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 0195677382
length xii+366p.