The progressive pilgrim: real and mythical Indian geography in the contemporary retellings of the Rāmāyana

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Abstract

Several English-language adaptations of the Indian epic Rāmāyana have been published since the beginning of the21st century. The epic has been regarded and recreated asa metonym for the Indian nation. Contemporary versionshave often referred to Indian geography and have tried topoetically or literally associate mythic spaces with real ones.In this paper, I use discourse analysis in order to study someof the most influential 21st-century English-language retell-ings of the Rāmāyana. I conclude that these and other ver-sions of the epic describe India as a regionally dividednation which can ultimately be united through nationalgeography, its association with mythology and the contrastbetween the geography of India and that of foreign nations.In this sense, I regard these contemporary versions as a‘literary pilgrimage’through which Indian readers can get toknow the geography of their nation and regard it as sacred.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalNations and Nationalism
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2024

Keywords

  • Cartography
  • Hindu nationalism
  • Hinduism
  • Mythological fiction
  • Orientalism
  • Rāmāyana

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