Religious Studies | Religion and Literature of Asia (formerly R352)
D375 | 30932 | R. Manring


Above class carries AH and CSA distribution. You can only get credit
for D375 once.

Focus of the class: Ancient and Classical Literatures of India (in
translation)

“What’s the use of stories that aren’t even true?” asks Haroun,
young hero of Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories.  We’re
going to ask that question of some tales from ancient India. We will
begin with a detailed look at the Rig Veda, the oldest extant
literature in any Indo-European language, and move on to two
distinctly different types of tales, one hagiographical and one more
varied.  Along with these we will read Roberto Calasso’s recent
treatment of Indian mythology, Ka:  Stories of the Mind and Gods of
India.  We will consider the role of the natural world as well as
the role of social expectations in educated ancient Indians’
conceptions of duty and how to determine the right course of action
in any situation.  And finally we will read a play by Kalidasa whose
work represents the pinnacle of Sanskrit literature.

Class meetings will include a great deal of discussion.  We will
also make use of video materials and lecture, to help bring the
material alive in the classroom.  Students will complete a series of
short written assignments and one final project for an in-class
presentation.