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Demon's Daughter, The

A Love Story from South India

Pingali Suranna, Velcheru Narayana Rao, David Shulman

Publication Year: 2006

The Demon’s Daughter (Prabhaµvatiµ-praµdyumnamu) is a sixteenth-century novel by the south Indian poet Pin³gal|i Suµranna, originally written in Telugu, the language of present-day Andhra Pradesh. Suµranna begins with a story from classical Hindu mythology in which a demon plans to overthrow the gods. Krishna’s son Pradyumna is sent to foil the plot and must infiltrate the impregnable city of the demons; Krishna helps ensure his success by having a matchmaking goose cause Pradyumna to fall in love with the demon’s daughter. The original story focuses on the ongoing war between gods and anti-gods, but Pin³gal|i Suµranna makes it an exploration of the experience of being and falling in love. In this, the work evinces a modern sensibility, showing love as both an individualized emotion and the fullest realization of a person, transcending social and cultural barriers. The translators include an afterword that explores the cultural setting of the work and its historical and literary contexts. Anyone interested in the literature and mythology of India will find this book compelling, but all readers who love a good story will enjoy this moving book. Velcheru Narayana Rao and David Shulman have provided an elegant translation that will serve well the contemporary reader who wishes to encounter a masterwork of world literature largely unknown in the West.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Title Page

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pp. iii


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pp. vii

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pp. ix

We have used the Emesco edition by Bommakanti Venkata Singaracarya and Balantrapu Nalinikanta Ravu (Vijayavada: M. Sesacalam and Company, 1970; reprinted 1990) as our base text, as it reflects an examination of earlier printed versions and a single manuscript (prepared for C. P. Brown in the early nineteenth century). No critical text is available. The editio princeps appeared in Madras in 1901 (Cintamani Mudraksara-sala) ...

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pp. xi

We want to thank the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, which graciously provided a congenial space to work and think in the summer of 2002. We are deeply grateful to Nita Shechet and to Peter Khoroche, wise and keen-sighted readers, whose suggestions we have adopted on page after page. As always, the British Library (Oriental Printed Books and Manuscripts Reading Room) offered serendipitous pleasures. ...

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pp. xiii-xvi

Highly original impulses often clothe themselves in available guises. In the second half of the sixteenth century, the Telugu poet Pingali Suranna composed three Telugu kavyas (sustained narratives in verse) in his village Krishnarayasamudramu and the small towns of Nandyala and Akuvidu in southern Andhra Pradesh, in the region that is today called Rayalasima. ...

The Demon’s Daughter: A Love Story from South India

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pp. 1

Chapter One

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pp. 3-19

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Chapter Two

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pp. 21-31

Indra, god of a thousand eyes,1 was even more impressed by the goose’s careful choice of words than by her potential usefulness to him. He enjoyed her eloquence for its own sake; it gave him a new, quite unexpected kind of pleasure. He said to her...

Chapter Three

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pp. 33-48

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Chapter Four

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pp. 49-64

The parrot continued: “The prince in the garden looked at me and said, ‘Great bird, a certain royal goose called Sucimukhi is in that city. Please find out where she lives and deliver this letter to her. That’s my request.’ I was deeply moved by his distress and, out of kindness, without thinking much about the consequences, I agreed to take the letter. I thought to myself, ‘What harm is there in delivering a letter to a goose?’ ...

Chapter Five

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pp. 65-83

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Afterword: The Sixteenth-Century Breakthrough

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pp. 85-109

We have argued for the evolution of a radically new sensibility in late sixteenth-century Andhra, one informed by a growing sense of the individual and the singularity of experience. You can clearly hear the new tone already in the very first, invocatory verse of Suranna’s book. ...


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pp. 111-118


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pp. 119-122

E-ISBN-13: 9780791482155
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791466957
Print-ISBN-10: 0791466957

Page Count: 138
Publication Year: 2006