The South Asian Studies Council presents James Reich, Philosophy and Religious Studies, Pace University:
“Freed by a Curse: Songs, Singing, and Sanskrit Aesthetics.”
Songs and singing, within Sanskrit scholastic traditions, are often located outside of the more formal and elite registers of literature, and they are often associated with non-elite social characters or languages. Because of this, the particularities of song and its difference from other kinds of poetry are rarely mentioned or discussed in Sanskrit literary theories. Yet depictions of songs and singing, and of reactions to songs and singing, appear frequently within Sanskrit literature itself. This talk will explore Sanskrit poets’ ideas about the particular kinds of aesthetic experiences that songs and singing can occasion, and what this might tell us about the history of Sanskrit ideas and the social imaginary of the educated elite in first millennium South Asia.