Grounds for Play: The Nautanki Theatre of North India (Google eBook)

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University of California Press, Nov 13, 1991 - Literary Criticism - 354 pages
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The nautanki performances of northern India entertain their audiences with often ribald and profane stories. Rooted in the peasant society of pre-modern India, this theater vibrates with lively dancing, pulsating drumbeats, and full-throated singing. In "Grounds for Play," Kathryn Hansen draws on field research to describe the different elements of nautanki performance: music, dance, poetry, popular story lines, and written texts. She traces the social history of the form and explores the play of meanings within nautanki narratives, focusing on the ways important social issues such as political authority, community identity, and gender differences are represented in these narratives. Unlike other styles of Indian theater, the nautanki does not draw on the pan-Indian religious epics such as the "Ramayana" or the "Mahabharata" for its subjects. Indeed, their storylines tend to center on the vicissitudes of stranded heroines in the throes of melodramatic romance. Whereas nautanki performers were once much in demand, live performances now are rare and nautanki increasingly reaches its audiences through electronic media records, cassettes, films, television. In spite of this change, the theater form still functions as an effective conduit in the cultural flow that connects urban centers and the hinterland in an ongoing process of exchange.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
The Name of the Nauṭaṅkī
9
Situating an Intermediary Theatre
33
The Landscape of Premodern Performance
56
Authors Akhāṛās and Texts
86
Kings Warriors and Bandits
117
Paradigms of Pure Love
144
Womens Lives and Deaths
171
The Kidnapping of Indal
273
Motif Analysis of Sāṅgīt nauṭaṅkī shāhzādī
281
Khyāl Literature in British Collections
283
Sāṅgīt Literature in British Collections
286
Hansen Collection of Contemporary Sāṅgīts
296
A Brief History of Meters in Svāṅg and Nauṭaṅkī
301
Nauṭaṅkī Performances
304
Notes
307

Melody Meter and the Musical Medium
208
Conclusion
252
Epilogue
267

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Page xiii - with the Center for South and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

About the author (1991)

Kathryn Hansen is Associate Professor of Hindi and Indian Literature at the University of British Columbia.

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