Synopses & Reviews
This vibrant collection presents 145 brief Bengali lyric poems dedicated to the Hindu goddesses Kali and Uma. These poems--many of which are presented here for the first time in English translation--were written from the early eighteenth century up to the contemporary period. They represent the unique Bengali tradition of goddess worship (Saktism) as it developed over this period. Included are forty poems by the most famous of all Sakta poets, Ramprasad Sen (c.1718-1775) and ten lyrics by the renowned 20th-century poet Kaji Najrul Islam. McDermott's lucid introduction places these works in their historical context and shows how images of the goddesses evolved over the centuries. Her lively translations of these poetic lyrics evoke the passion and devotion of the followers of Kali and Uma and shed light on the history and practice of goddess worship.
"This book has now set the standard in the field of Bangala Sakta literary studies and, I would venture to guess, will maintain that position for years to come. Singing to the Goddess
is both a text to use in the classroom and a poetry anthology to savor." --Journal of American Oriental Society
"Singing to the Goddess is an instant classic, boasting elegant and accomplished translations appealing to the devotee, but providing balanced introductions, ample endnotes discussing historical contexts . . . and the important discovery of a Tantric genre for the scholar. This work will join other important watershed translations, becoming a required textbook for classes in comparative literature, religions of South Asia, Hinduism, goddess worship, and/or South Asian studies."--Religious Studies Review
About the Author
is Assistant Professor of Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures at Barnard College.