Tamil Love Poetry: The Five Hundred Short Poems of the Ainkurunuru

Kobo ebook | May 24, 2011

byMartha Ann Selby

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Dating from the early decades of the third century C.E., the Ainkurunuru is believed to be the earliest anthology of classical Tamil love poetry and known to be a work of enduring importance. Commissioned by a Cera-dynasty king and composed by five masterful poets, the anthology renders the five landscapes of reciprocal love distinctive to the genre: jealous quarreling, anxious waiting and lamentation, clandestine love before marriage, elopement and love in separation, and patient waiting after marriage.

Despite its centrality to literary and intellectual traditions, the Ainkurunuru remains relatively unknown beyond specialists. Martha Ann Selby, well-known translator of Sanskrit poetry and literature, opens the anthology to all readers, presenting crystalline translations of 500 poems dense with natural imagery and early South Indian cultural materials. Because of their poems' short length, the anthology's five authors relied largely on double entendre and sophisticated techniques of suggestion, giving their works an almost haikulike feel. Groups of verse center on one unique figure, whether an object or animal, a line of direct address, or a specific conversational or situational context. Selby introduces each section with a description of the poet and the conventions at work within the landscape. She then incorporates notes throughout the text that explain the shifting contexts.

Excerpt:

He has gone off all by himself
beyond the wastes
where tigers used to prowl
and the toothbrush trees grow tall,
their trunks parched,
on the flinty mountains,

while the lovely folds of your loins,
wide as a chariot's seat,
vanish as your circlet
worked from gold
grows far too large for you.

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From the Publisher

Dating from the early decades of the third century C.E., the Ainkurunuru is believed to be the earliest anthology of classical Tamil love poetry and known to be a work of enduring importance. Commissioned by a Cera-dynasty king and composed by five masterful poets, the anthology renders the five landscapes of reciprocal love distinctiv...

Martha Ann Selby is associate professor of South Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin and an NEH Fellow at the National Humanities Center. She is the author of Grow Long, Blessed Night: Love Poems from Classical India and A Circle of Six Seasons: A Selection from Old Tamil, Prakrit, and Sanskrit Verse and the coeditor ...
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:May 24, 2011Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231521588

ISBN - 13:9780231521581

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Marutam (100 Poems on Jealous Quarreling by ?ramp?kiy?r)
2. Neytal (100 Poems on Lamenting the Lover's Absence by Amm?van?r)
3. Kuriñci (100 Poems on the Union of Lovers by Kapilar)
4. P?lai (100 Poems on Separation by ?tal?ntaiy?r)
5. Mullai (100 Poems on Patient Waiting for the Lover's Return by P?yan?r)
References
Index

Editorial Reviews

The book is most heartily recommended to all, not just to specialists in Tamil literature...