Extraordinary Child: Poems from a South Indian Devotional Genre
University of Hawai'i Press, 1997 - Foreign Language Study - 297 pages
For hundreds of years Tamil poets have been composing devotional texts in which they adopt the voice of a mother and address praises to an extraordinary child. The poems, called pillaittamil (literally "Tamil for a child"), form a major genre of Tamil literature. Since the twelfth century, when the first known pillaittamil was written in honor of a Chola king, many of these poems have been composed in praise of Murugan and South Indian goddesses, as well as saints and venerated monastic abbots. In recent times pillaittamils have been dedicated to the Prophet Muhammad, the Virgin Mary, and Baby Jesus, as well as notable political figures and moviestars. Extraordinary Child provides a sampler of translations, from, and analysis of, seven pillaittamils of particular religious, aesthetic, or political significance. Interspersed throughout the translations are essays on topics such as the virtuoso displays of poetic skill in poems addressed to the moon (a standard component of pillaittamil), the influence of pillaittamil on temple art, and the ways in which pillaittamil have been used for political purposes. An introduction initiates the reading into the pillaittamil tradition by explaining what a pillaittamil does and how contemporary Western audiences can learn to savor the subtleties of the poetry.
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Asking for the Moon Taming the Tiger
PILLAITTAMILS FOR READING
A Temple and a Pillaittamil
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A. K. Ramanujan Anapiyya asks audience auspicious Baby Jesus beauty Cekkilar celestial Cellatturai chapter clap your hands classical Tamil composed connoisseurs conventions dance deity depicts devotional divine E. V. Ramasami example extraordinary child female fragrant Ganges River girls Goddess Minatci gods Hindu imagery Indian Indra Islamic king kiss Kumarakuruparar lauds lineage little chariot little drum little house lotus Madras Madurai male Matha MMPT moon paruvam moon verses Mother Tamil mountain Muhammad Murukan Muslim NNPT NOTES Pakalikkuttar paru paruvam structure pattiyals peacock pearls Periyar Pillai pillaittamil genre pillaittamil poets PILLAITTAMIL TO MUHAMMAD pillaittamil tradition PILLAITTAMILS FOR READING play poem poetic praise protection paruvam READ A PILLAITTAMIL reader recitation refers refrain religious Saivite Sanskrit scholars Singaravelu SISS Siva's South India strategies sway Tamil culture Tamil language Tamil literature Tamil Muslim Tamil poetry Tamilnadu TAPT TCPT temple texts thirty-three gods tion Tiruccentur Tirunelveli translation University Visnu write
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