Thursday, January 13, 2005

Books on line

*snaps* to once again to Amardeep for this great find!! For some reason University of California Press has put 400 books on line for free. A quick perusal of the list reveal that i already own an awful lot of University of California Press books, and some of my favorites are now available for anyone and everyone to read.

First and most importantly, a book that probably changed the course of my life (drum roll please!) The Life of A Text: Performing the Ramacaritmanas of Tulsidas by Philip Lutgendorf. I read this book as an undergrad and it was made me decide to go to grad school, and study Ramlila for my PhD. Not only is it a brilliant book, Lutgendorf is a wonderful writer. In this book, he truly captures the importance of the Manas as an oral entity, not as a text per se. In order to understand me, what i do or why i do it, this is the book you have to read.

Another book that i came across a little later in my academic career, let's say around 1998, is Joseph Alter's The Wrestler's Body. If i had been a man and actually allowed into the many wrestling akharas of Banaras, i would have incorporated them into my research, maybe looking at the ritual use of Hanuman in akharas or something. But as a woman... Like Lutgendorf's book, The Wrestler's Body is extremely readable. It tells a good story, and for that reason i have modeled parts of my diss on it.

Other good reads include Friends, Brothers, Informants: fieldwork Memoirs of Banaras by Nita Kumar. Thank god i read this book before embarking on my own fieldwork in Banaras. It was extremely comforting to know that a person born and raised in India found Banaras as foreign as i did. It gives a great introduction to the city and to doing field work in India in general.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, from the looks of it, it doesnt seem to be all that free.... at least not "FREE FOR ALL" free....

Seems to be restricted to UC patrons alone... Just wondering how you were able to access the books?!?!?! Are you a UC alumni connecting through VPN???? or somehow connected to UC, to be able to access the books...

10:01 AM  
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