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Plau, Adrian (2018) The Deeds of Sītā : A Critical Edition and Literary Contextual Analysis of the Sītācarit by Rāmcand Bālak. PhD thesis. SOAS, University of London. DOI:

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The Sītācarit ('The Deeds of Sītā') is a retelling of the Rāmāyaṇa story written in the mid-seventeenth century by Rāmcand Bālak. While popular throughout the first centuries after its composition, the Sītācarit fell into obscurity by the middle of the 19th century and has never been printed. This thesis presents a critical edition of the entire work, based on manuscripts from research archives and temple libraries across North India. The thesis employs comparative methodologies of narrative, aesthetic and religious features to situate the Sītācarit within the contexts both of the preceding Jain Rāmāyaṇa tradition and of its contemporary literary and religious culture. Identifying that earlier Jain Rāmāyaṇa studies have been focused on their Purāṇic super-structure, the Sītācarit is presented as a defining example of the satī-kathā branch of that tradition. In showing how the Sītācarit is informed by a Digambara adhyātma outlook yet remains sensitive to wider currents of bhakti devotionalism, in a similar vein to how it blends artful – though not courtly - aesthetics with open devotional didacticism, the study also indicates that the Jains who shifted from Maru- Gurjar to Brajbhāṣā in their literary productions were not marginal, but were influenced by and partook in a multilingual and multireligious literary culture.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses
Supervisors Name: Francesca Orsini
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 May 2020 14:35

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