Hanumans Tale: The Messages of a Divine Monkey

Paperback | December 15, 2006

byPhilip Lutgendorf

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Hanuman, the devoted monkey helper of Rama and Sita, has long been recognized as a popular character in India's ancient Ramayana epic. But more recently he has also become one of the most beloved and worshiped gods in the Hindu pantheon - enshrined in majestic new temples, but equally presentin poster art, advertising, and mass media. Drawing on Sanskrit and vernacular texts, classical iconography and modern TV serials, and extensive fieldwork and interviews, Philip Lutgendorf challenges the academic cliche of Hanuman as a "minor" or "folk" deity by exploring his complex and growingrole in South Asian religion and culture. This wide-ranging study examines the historical evolution of Hanuman's worship, his close association with Shiva and goddesses, his invocation in tantric ritual, his physical immortality and enduring presence in sacred sites, and his appeal to devotees whoinclude scholars, wrestlers, healers, politicians, and middle-class urbanites. Lutgendorf also offers a rich array of entertaining stories not previously available in English: an expanding epic cycle that he christens the "Hanumayana." Arguing that Hanuman's role as cosmic "middle man" is intimately linked to his embodiment in a charming and provocative simian form,Lutgendorf moves beyond the Indian subcontinent to interrogate the wider human fascination with anthropoid primates as boundary beings and as potent signifiers of both Self and Other.

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From the Publisher

Hanuman, the devoted monkey helper of Rama and Sita, has long been recognized as a popular character in India's ancient Ramayana epic. But more recently he has also become one of the most beloved and worshiped gods in the Hindu pantheon - enshrined in majestic new temples, but equally presentin poster art, advertising, and mass media....

Philip Lutgendorf is Professor of Hindi and Modern Indian Studies at the University of Iowa. He is the author of The Life of a Text: Performing the Ramcaritmanas of Tulsidas

other books by Philip Lutgendorf

Format:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 6.1 × 9.09 × 1.18 inPublished:December 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195309227

ISBN - 13:9780195309225

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Anything Philip Lutgendorf creates-and he has created a lot-is eagerly awaited and long treasured. Ever since the publication of his prize-winning book The Life of a Text, we've been looking forward to Hanuman's Tale. Now here it is, and it was worth the wait. Somehow Lutgendorf manages tokeep the life of his massive subject ever fresh while sharing perceptions whose subtle contours and sometimes radical edges betray many years of thought. He warns us early on that we are not to receive this as "The Book" on Hanuman in English-but frankly, it is. --John Stratton Hawley, BarnardCollege, Columbia University