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Books > Literature & Fiction > Mythology & Folk Tales > Fairy Tales > 081221269X
  1. Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching (Contemporary Ethnography) (English and Hindi Edition)
    Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching (Contemporary Ethnography) (English and Hindi Edition)
    Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching (Contemporary Ethnography) (English and Hindi Edition)
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  2. Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching (Contemporary Ethnography) (English and Hindi Edition)

    Delivery: 10-20 Working Days
    Customer Ratings (3 reviews)
    Price R730.00

Additional Information

Swamiji, a Hindu holy man, is the central character of Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels. He reclines in a deck chair in his modern apartment in western India, telling subtle and entertaining folk narratives to his assorted gatherings. Among the listeners is Kirin Narayan, who knew Swamiji when she was a child in India and who has returned from America as an anthropologist. In her book Narayan builds on Swamiji's tales and his audiences' interpretations to ask why religious teachings the world over are so often couched in stories.

For centuries, religious teachers from many traditions have used stories to instruct their followers. When Swamiji tells a story, the local barber rocks in helpless laughter, and a sari-wearing French nurse looks on enrapt. Farmers make decisions based on the tales, and American psychotherapists take notes that link the storytelling to their own practices. Narayan herself is a key character in this ethnography. As both a local woman and a foreign academic, she is somewhere between participant and observer, reacting to the nuances of fieldwork with a sensitivity that only such a position can bring.

Each story s reproduced in its evocative performance setting. Narayan supplements eight folk narratives with discussions of audience participation and response as well as relevant Hindu themes. All these stories focus on the complex figure of the Hindu ascetic and so sharpen our understanding of renunciation and gurus in South Asia.

While Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels raises provocative theoretical issues, it is also a moving human document. Swamiji, with his droll characterizations, inventive mind, and generous spirit, is a memorable character. The book contributes to a growing interdisciplinary literature on narrative. It will be particularly valuable to students and scholars of anthropology, folklore, performance studies, religions, and South Asian studies.

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Kirin Narayan
Brand: University of Pennsylvania Press
Great product!
University of Pennsylvania Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
7 illus.
7 illus.
University of Pennsylvania Press
University of Pennsylvania Press
Most Helpful Customer Reviews

This book is based on the stories of Swamiji (name anon) who I happened to spend 1 year with in the late 70ies. It is an interesting and vivid portrayal of swamiji and his stories which were spoken in his native language and not therefore available to westerners who visited him. I was one of those westerners and received his teachings through his presence more than literal understanding of his stories, which he used as a teaching tool. This book has been wonderful for me , bringing alive his stories and his teachings in a visceral way. I am very grateful to Kirin Narayan for her dedicated work and enjoyed the light and entertaining way she presented her information. I believe the only other book written about this particular saint was by my brother, Titus foster, who wrote a biography of swamiji entitled, Agaram Bagaram Guru
Kirin Narayan is not only an excellent ethnographer; she's also an excellent writer. This book was reportedly based on her doctoral dissertation, and I consider it a model for what accessible, informative, intelligent, and analytical research can be. What a treat it must be to be one of her students and to have her as a mentor.
This book makes folklore accessible and interesting. The subject--stories recounted by hindu holymen and why and how they are told--is fascinating. Ethnographic information on the hindu religion and culture is brillant and full of life and humor. Kirin Narayan was also my University of Wisconsin-Madison anthropology professor and she was awesome!
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