Tellings and renderings in medieval Karnataka

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Indian literature provides examples of multiple renderings of a text that are radically different from the purported original. Scholars have suggested that it is better to refer to these as tellings, since they have a symbolic relationship as different versions of a story. In fact, medieval Indian tellings and renderings could be regarded as cultural transactions with a complex intertextuality amongst them. Multiple tellings and renderings also acted as pluralistic epistemologies for categories such as gender, caste, religion, sect and language, not only interconnecting them but also protecting the rights of these categories over their knowledge. Taking written, oral and non-verbal representations from the Karnataka region, this paper attempts to understand the processes and methods at work in the cultural transactions that produced these representations.


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