Two Tales Of Crow And Sparrow / Edition 1

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Overview

This provocative book by a leading folklorist offers a new analysis of caste in India, focusing on the rationale underlying the customs surrounding untouchability. Drawing on clues contained in two fascinating folktales, Alan Dundes goes beyond Dumont's classic Homo Hierarchicus in deconstructing the pervasive pollution complex that prevents millions of individuals from entering temples or drawing water from community wells. His graceful and erudite explanation of caste also illuminates the mysterious worship of the sacred cow as well as sati/suttee, or widow burning. The author concludes by relating caste to the theory of marginal survival, drawing on Gypsy concepts of pollution. This controversial book offers a fresh perspective for anyone interested in India, folklore, and psychoanlytic anthropology_a detailed case study documenting how folklore, as a source of native categories and symbols, can yield unique insights into the unconscious functioning of a culture through time. In this comprehensive textbook, renowned philosopher J. N. Mohanty examines the range of Indian philosophy from the Sutra period through the 17th century Navya Nyaya. Classical Indian Philosophy is divided into three parts that cover epistemology, metaphysics, and the attempt to transcend the distinction between subject and object. Mohanty focuses on the major concepts and problems dealt with in Indian philosophy, including ethics, social philosophy, law, and aesthetics. Students of Indian philosophy at every level will find this a rich and rewarding text.

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Editorial Reviews

Tls
Dunde's highly individual approach has been tested . . . on almost anything.
— Tom Shippey
Asian Folklore Studies
A lot has been written on this subject, but the present book is a novel one. It gives new insights into the problem of untouchability that other scholars have ignored or overlooked.
— S. M. Michael, Institute of Indian Culture, Mumbai
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
...he has consistently written with an eye for detail.

...the work under review makes an original and not-easily-dismissed analysis of caste and untouchability in India.

...provocative book...

Alan Dundes' application of Freudian folkloristic theory of Indian folktales and social practices has the added merit of intellectual courage.
— Stuart Blackburn

Journal Of Contemporary Religion
Dundes's masterpiece is Two Tales of Crow and Sparrow in whcich he shows how two Hindu folktales illustrate, and can be used to illuminate, the Hindu system of caste and untouchability, the very core of a religion in which practice is far more important than belief.
TLS
Dunde's highly individual approach has been tested . . . on almost anything.
— Tom Shippey
Journal of Contemporary Religion
Dundes's masterpiece is Two Tales of Crow and Sparrow in whcich he shows how two Hindu folktales illustrate, and can be used to illuminate, the Hindu system of caste and untouchability, the very core of a religion in which practice is far more important than belief.
Kirin Narayan
Extensively researched, lucidly written, and intrepidly argued, this book brings a psychoanalytic perspective to scholarship on caste. Starting from an analysis of two popular Indian folktales, Alan Dundes boldly follows symbolic clues into realms where few scholars would venture. Even those who disagree with Dundes' assertions will find this essay provocative, inspiring further reflection on the relations between child rearing practices and social institutions.
Tls - Tom Shippey
Dunde's highly individual approach has been tested . . . on almost anything.
Asian Folklore Studies - S. M. Michael
A lot has been written on this subject, but the present book is a novel one. It gives new insights into the problem of untouchability that other scholars have ignored or overlooked.
Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies - Stuart Blackburn
...he has consistently written with an eye for detail.

...the work under review makes an original and not-easily-dismissed analysis of caste and untouchability in India.

...provocative book...

Alan Dundes' application of Freudian folkloristic theory of Indian folktales and social practices has the added merit of intellectual courage.

Michael P. Carroll
Using folklore and other data, Dundes not only brings to light patterns that have been overlooked or ignored by earlier investigators but offers a strikingly original explanation that integrates these patterns into a coherent whole. This is creative scholarship at its best.
From the Publisher
Alan Dundes has taken two humorous Indian folktales and used a Freudian analysis to show how they illustrate and can be used to illumincate the entire Hindu system of caste and untouchability and indeed the pollution rules of the gypsies. It is a remarkable achievement to be able to move between particular tales and an entire social structure and Dundes does it skillfully here as in his earlier masterpieceLife is Like a Chicken Coop Ladder about German cultural traditions.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780847684571
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 11/20/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Alan Dundes, professor of anthropology and folklore at the University of California, and a leading authority in the study of folklore, is the author or editor of more than thirty books.

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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Caste 1
Untouchability 9
The First Tale of Crow and Sparrow 24
The Second Tale of Crow and Sparrow 33
Analysis of the Tales 46
The Bodily Origin of Caste 56
Defecation Habits 66
Freudian Theory in India 74
Toilet Training in India 84
The Crackdown Paradox 92
The Cow Anomaly 98
Sati (Suttee) and the Theory of Leftovers 105
Breaking the Rules 116
Gypsy Defilement as Marginal Survival 124
Conclusions 131
Bibliography 139
About the Author 163
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