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Devotional Poetics and the Indian Sublime

by: Vijay Mishra

Studying European theories of the sublime particularly against contemporary critical uses of the term, the study maintains that the Brahman is one of the most fully developed sublimes. It analyses the relationship of a devotee, with his ‘God’ when the latter is incapable of representation.


Category: ,

ISBN: 9788124601563
Year Of Publication: 2000
Edition: 1st
Pages : xi, 268
Bibliographic Details : Bibliography; Index
Language : English
Binding : Hardcover
Publisher: D.K. Printworld Pvt. Ltd.
Size: 23 cm.
Weight: 550 gm.


The last two decades of the twentieth century have been marked by an immense revival of interest in the sublime, yet past studies have used Western texts as their archives. This book dramatically shifts the focus by examining a major instance of an Indian sublime: the Brahman. Mishra examines European theories of the sublime, reads them off against contemporary critical uses of the term (notably by Lyotard and Paul de Man) and proposes that the Hindu Brahman constitutes an instance of one of the most fully developed of all comprehensive theory of both the Indian sublime and Indian devotional verse. “The book offers a highly original interpretation of one fundamental problem in Indian cultural history: how does a devotee establish a relationship with God (Brahman) when God is ultimately incapable of representation? Mishra brilliantly exposes this problem by introducing the theme of the sublime and shows how the problem has been confronted across a range of central Hindu texts covering a large panorama of historical time and several Indic languages.”


A Note on Transliteration
1. The Sublime Object of Devotion
Sublime Aesthetics – The Center Cannot Hold – The Self and the Oceanic Sublime – Orientalism and the Indian Sublime – A Matter of Feeling and Emotion – The Textual Tradition
2. Two Truths are Told : Prologues to the Swelling Act
The Moment of the Bhagavadgita
3. Devotional Poetics
The Semantics of Bhakti – The Ideology of Bhakti – The Tamil Alvars and the Vira-Shaivas – Jayadeva’s Gitagovinda : An Indian Pastoral – Prescribing the text
4. Temples of Fire : Plurality-with-Unity
5. Desiring Selves, Undesirable Worlds
Desire, Deceit, and Maya – Divine Pleasures Kabir’s Burning Brides
Conclusion : The Devotional Sublime
Select Biblography

Meet the Author
Vijay Mishra is Professor of English literature at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is the author of the Gothic Sublime, also published by State University of New York Press, and (with Bob Hodge) Dark Side of the Dream: Australian Literature and the Postcolonial Mind.
Books of Vijay Mishra