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November 24, 2020 at 12:05 am #4885Jennifer DubinerGuest
Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon
Himalayan Foothill Folktales
by Kirin Narayan, Urmila Devi Sood
- Release date: June 19, 1997
- Language: english
- Format: paperback, 288 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
- ISBN: 9780195103496 (0195103491)
- Author: Kirin Narayan, Urmila Devi Sood
About The Book
Here are the twenty-one stories that Urmilaji told. On her instruction, I have divided the stories into two broad sets: tales associated with various women’s rituals and tales for entertainment on long, cold winter nights.
From the back cover:
“Oral tales establish relationships between storytellers and their listeners. Yet most printed collections of folktales contain only stories, stripped of the human contexts in which they are told. In this innovative book, Indian-American anthropologist Kirin Narayan reproduced twenty-one folktales narrated in a mountain dialect by a middle-aged Indian village woman, Urmila Devi Sood, or “Urmilaji.” In dialogue with Kirin Narayan, Urmilaji Sood supplements her tales with interpretations of the wisdom that she perceives in them. In turn, Kirin Narayan sets these tales within a larger story about the joys and ironies of undertaking research in a village that is also home to her American mother.
These narratives serve as both moral instruction and as beguiling entertainment. As mass-media floods across rural India, Urmilaji Sood reaffirms the value of tales that have been told and retold across generations. As she says, “Television can’t teach you these things!” The first set of tales celebrate women’s ritual powers: a washerwoman who brings the dead to life, a female weevil who observes fasts for a better rebirth, and a queen whose worship transforms mud into gold. The second set of tales describe the adventures of such characters as a princess married to a lion and a boy who God splits into two selves.
Set evocatively amid the changing seasons in a Himalayan foothill village, the pathbreaking book draws a moving portrait of an accomplished woman storyteller. Mondays on the Dark Night of the Moon offers a window into changing rural India and explores the significance of oral storytelling in nurturing human ties.”
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