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The Plays of Girish Karnad : A Study in Myths and Gender

Abhishek Kosta, Atlantic, 2012, x, 250 p, ISBN : 9788126917068, $40.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

The Plays of Girish Karnad : A Study in Myths and Gender

Contents :  Preface. 1. Introduction. 2. Myths. 3. Gender. 4. Analysis of the Plays: I. 5. Analysis of the Plays: II. 6. Conclusion. Bibliography. Index.

This book is based on the myths in the plays of Girish Karnad. The four major plays Hayavadana, Yayati, Nagamandala and The Fire and the Rain have been analyzed from a gender perspective. It is a pioneering work since it brings to light the fact that contrary to the prevalent belief that women’s emancipation movement started in the last two centuries, it establishes that the world of ancient India was both liberal and generous. The women represented in these plays belong to ancient India. They were aware of their identities as independent individuals and were able to take intelligent decisions regarding their destiny with vigor and determination.

The book establishes Karnad as a revolutionary author who was able to artistically present the reality of female psyche. It also bridges the distance between ancient and the modern because the emancipated souls of the women presented, radically implant the truth that God created man and woman equal with the same needs, drives and motives. It is really interesting to note how the women in these plays display the multivalent existence in different spheres of human activities. The indepth research on the theories of myth and folklore of India is a substantial contribution to academic insight. The detailed and systematic study of gender history, gender related issues and exposition of current theories will be an important resource to all those engaged in this branch of research. The application of gender theories to the works of Karnad will also prove useful for scholars desirous of pursuing similar studies on different autho1 Written in a refined style and lucid manner this book will ably fulfill the need for applied studies in literature.

Such studies are challenging but are also most gratifying because they are fresh and hence, energizing. This original work has also undertaken the daunting task of incorporating the living legends of feminist criticism such as Kate Millet, Helen Cixous, Alice Walker, Elaine Showalter, Luce Irigaray, Judith Butler, along with the trail blazer Simone de Beauvoir. (jacket)

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