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Rethinking the Mahabharata

Alf Hiltebeitel (Author)
Synopsis The ancient Indian Sanskrit tradition produced no text more intriguing, or more persistently misunderstood or underappreciated, than the Mahabharata. Its intricacies have waylaid generations of scholars and ignited countless unresolved debates. In Rethinking the Mahabharata, Alf Hiltebeitel offers a unique model for understanding the great epic. Employing a wide range of literary and narrative theory, Hiltebeitel draws on historical and comparative research in an attempt to discern the spirit and techniques behind the epic’s composition. He focuses on the education of Yudhisthira, the Dharma King, and shows how the relationship of this figure to others—especially his author-grandfather Vyasa and his wife Draupadi—provides a thread through the bewildering array of frames and stories embedded within stories. Raising important questions about form, content, context, function, and appeal, Hiltebeitel demonstrates the power of this text and makes sense of the incongruities and paradoxes that are so essential to this complex work. He also offers a revisionist theory regarding the dating and production of the original text and its relation to the Vedas. No ordinary reader’s guide, this volume will illuminate the many wonders of this enigmatic masterpiece and make a rewarding read for contemporary scholars, students, Indologists, and the interested general reader.
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About the author

Alf Hiltebeitel

Alf Hiltebeitel is professor of religion and director of the Human Sciences Program at the George Washington University. He is the author and editor of numerous books including Draupadi among Rajputs, Muslims and Dalits : Rethinking India's Oral and Classical Epics

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Bibliographic information

Title Rethinking the Mahabharata
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2002
Edition Reprint
Language: English
isbn 0195664205
length x+365p., Bibliography; Abbreviations; Index.