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 to keep 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, Barnard College, Columbia University"This rich, lavish, broad-ranging book on the Indian figure of Hanuman will be the standard guide and reference source on the Indian monkey god for years to come...A readable narrative that never fails to engage as it informs."--Choice"More than fifteen years after his first masterful book on teh vernacular Ramayana of North India, The Life of a Text: Performing the Ramacaritmanas of Tulsidas, PHilip Lutgendorf returns with another superb book on a closely related and yet vastly different topic: the divine and charismatic monkey Hanuman...This is a major achievement in the study of South Asian religions." --Journal of ReligionVom Verlag:
Hanuman, the Hindu monkey-god, is best known in the west for his role in the ancient epic Ramayana (he is also considered the tales first author), in which, as the devoted servant of Rama, the tales hero, he leads a ferocious monkey army to help defeat the evil Ravana and rescue Ramas wife Sita. But because he does not figure as prominently as others in the ancient Sanskrit texts that have traditionally been studied by western scholars, Hanuman has often been relegated to the status of minor deity. Philip Lutgendorf moves beyond these texts to examine Hindu popular literature, art, and ritual, and shows that Hanuman is perhaps the most beloved deity in the Hindu pantheon. Far from being a mere sidekick, Hanuman is worshipped widely in India and the diaspora, across lines of caste and sect. There are more temples devoted to Hanuman than to any other god or goddess, and there has even been something of a competition to erect the largest statue in his honor (the tallest so far, in Paritala, stands 135 feet high). Lutgendorf offers a comprehensive examination of this remarkable figure, exploring every facet of his legend. Drawing on an enormous treasure trove of previously untapped sources that he has gathered through years of fieldwork, as well as on interviews with devotees, he traces the history of Hanumans character, teases out the many variations on his story, and examines the sources of his enormous appeal.
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