Penn State

Kumkum Chatterjee - professor of history, Penn State University Park

Book Title: The Language of the Gods in the World of Men: Sanskrit, Culture and Power in Pre-Modern India

Author: Sheldon Pollock

Book Description:

This magisterial monograph explores the function of Sanskrit literature in the Indian sub-continent as a manifestation of a form of political and aesthetic culture for close to a thousand years. This book is path-breaking in terms of underscoring the possibilities and importance of language and literature for the study of cultural history. Secondly, it makes a very ambitious argument which is empirically rich yet theoretically sophisticated and simultaneously relevant for South Asian specialists as well as non-specialist scholars. The book ranges across several centuries of South Asian history which is however juxtaposed vis a vis literary-linguistic configurations in other parts of the world—from the Roman empire to the great Islamic empires —and is proof of the fact that as scholars, we need to be mindful of the need to communicate with a scholarly audience in our respective specialties to be sure, but, also to be able to communicate with a wider community of scholars beyond these.

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