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The Dateless Muse - Folklore of Tamilnadu (An Old and Rare Book)

The Dateless Muse - Folklore of Tamilnadu (An Old and Rare Book)
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Item Code: NAY761
Author: V. Murugan
Publisher: Institute of Asian Studies, Chennai
Language: English
Edition: 1988
Pages: 272
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.48 kg
About the Book
Second volume of the Folklore of Tamilnadu series of this Institute, It comprises the ballad Venkalarajan Katal, printed from an unpublished palm-leaf manuscript, along with critical introductions and notes on the linguistic peculiarities and ambiguities of the text. The English translation that accompanies the text represents our attempt to make the riches of folk creativity in one language accessible to the non-native readers, as also to facilitate comparative studies among similar forms in different Asian languages.

The present text is a socio-historical ballad beautifully capturing the intrinsic, elemental responses of a social grouping in Tamilnadu vis-a-vis its evolution on the social scale and its passionate claim to cultural eminence and standing. Realities of history and myth are so subtly interwoven as to render this work one of both historical validity and perennial aesthetic strength.

About the Introduction
That this Institute has been able to translate into word of print the elemental riches of the folks that remain buried in frail and fast decaying palm-leaves owes in ~ large measure to the understanding, co-operation and financial participation of the National Archives of India, Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.

We remain profoundly indebted to the considered patronage of this Organization.

Research in folklore in this part of the country remains relatively a neglected area. Apart from the scant attention this discipline receives from the scholars, the existing studies are marked by conceptual misdirection’s, notwithstanding the immense awareness it has aroused among the academic community in Europe, the U.S.A., and elsewhere. One such attitude on our part is to draw a dividing line between the 'high' and the 'low' literary cultures, and to class the lures of the folk as belonging to the low literary culture. This misconnection inevitably results in dismembering the fruits of folk creativity from the organization of academic scholarship and treating them as undeserving of serious critical scrutiny. They are considered to be of inferior literary merit, not worthy of reading and enjoyment by men and women of informed literary sensibilities. The simplicity of folk diction and style is taken for naivety, and the thematic content of these songs, that embodies the spontaneous and primordial responses of the folks to the realities of their being and knowing, is considered to be bordering on unclutteredness and primitively on the one hand and inartistic expressiveness on the other.

Another debilitating dimension of our attitude to the folklore is that the Folklore Departments of our academic centers suffer largely from compartmentalization and mutual exclusiveness. We seldom see that Folklore studies demands an essentially interdisciplinary nary approach with pure and applied linguistics, sociology and anthropology purposively interacting and interfertilizing this discipline. Besides, the folklorist, by the very nature of his pursuit must be one of many-sided equipment.

Besides being an academic scholar, a linguist and anthropologist, he must be a tireless field worker. He has to achieve a sense of identity with the folks in question and his study of their life and art must evolve from his felt understanding of and sympathy with those people, and at the same time he must be able to record his data and examine them with a sense of detachment and objectivity.

The picture that emerges from this data must necessarily be a wholesome one comprising the totality of the life, presented in what could be called 'the circumambient universe'. Such a contextual placement is essential insofar as our life consists in achieving a pure relationship between ourselves and the living universe around. The relatedness between one and the trees and flowers, one and the earth, one and the skies, the sun, the moon and the stars is what in its broadest sense constitutes the circumambient universe. A study on these lines-man-environment and man-flora-fauna symbiosis and interaction - is a compulsive need in the realization of a picture of this kind. The rhythms of nature are seen in organic relationship with the rhythms of human life. The folklorist looks for and obtains the linguistic vehicles with which to adequately express this relationship.

Before taking up the lures of a folk or tribal group, one has to acquire an understanding of it in relation to its linguistic, ethnic, cultural and ritual traits. Putting both these-the eco- environment and the human organization- in a time-frame contemporary of daily, weekly and annual cycles, one studies the life-styles of the people from birth to death and their lore both verbal and non-verbal. As regards the lore, one has to have an intellectual feel of the distinctness and peculiarities of the folk idiom, the psyche of the folks vis-a-vis their urge for creativity, the different manifestations both verbal and non-verbal which this urge takes, the relationship between their living and vocations on the one hand and their songs and tales on the other and the tensions and conflicts by which this relationship is characterized.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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