Shubha Pathak, Divine yet Human Epics: Reflections of Poetic Rulers from Ancient Greece and India
Note on Texts and Translations
Introduction. Defining Epics through Comparison
1. The Epic Identity of the Iliad and Odyssey: Pindar and Herodotus’ Lofty Legacy
2. The Epic Metaphor of the Rāmāyaṇa and Mahābhārata: Ānandavardhana and Rājaśekhara’s Expedient Influence
3. Listening to Achilles and to Odysseus: Poetic Kings on the Ideal of Kléos in the Homeric Epics
4. Hearkening to Kuśa and Lava and to Nala: Poetic Monarchs on the Ideal of Dharma in the Hindu Epics
Conclusion. Affirmative and Interrogative Epics
For my menfolk, with love
I started writing this book when I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago Divinity School. There, I found welcome support for my comparative project, even though the scholarly norm tended increasingly toward highly specialized studies. In my wider-ranging intellectual interests, I was encouraged by Wendy Doniger, my dissertation advisor, and by Anthony C. Yu and Laura M. Slatkin, the other members of my dissertation committee. I am grateful to all three of them for helping me to envision what my work could be.
I finished writing this book as an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religion at American University, where a much-appreciated junior-faculty teaching release afforded me the time and resources to complete most of my manuscript. I would like to thank the AU colleagues who made my leave a reality. After drafting my manuscript, I was fortunate to find at Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies another set of sympathetic readers willing to see what my cross-cultural comparative inquiry would reveal. I am truly thankful to Gregory Nagy, Leonard Muellner, Casey Dué, and the other scholars on the CHS editorial board for their faith in and feedback on my work. I also am indebted to the anonymous reader of this work’s initial manuscript for offering thoughtful criticism of it, to Jill Curry Robbins for tirelessly guiding this project through the production process, to Joni Godlove for interweaving the Greek and Indian textile images that I found in the Victoria and Albert Museum’s online repository into her stunning design on this book’s cover, to Ivy Livingston for expertly reformatting and typesetting my revised manuscript, and to Valerie Quercia for carefully copyediting it.
Somewhat more removed from but no less vital to the completion of this monograph were my wonderful menfolk: my father, Ambadas Pathak; my husband, Jim Blenko (who assembled its indices); and my brother, Sujay Pathak. I dedicate this book to them in deep gratitude for their limitless love and steadfast support.