Songs of Experience

The Poetics of Tamil Devotion
Norman Cutler
Distribution: World
Publication date: 05/22/1987
ISBN: 978-0-253-11419-8
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... a significant contribution to the field... great insight, learning, and clarity." —George Hart III, University of California, Berkeley

A master’s hand is behind this volume." —Religious Studies Review

... eminently readable... artfully explains the initial spirit and modern understanding of Tamil bhakti poetry... " —Pacific Affairs

Norman Cutler’s major achievement in Songs of Experience is the new critical perspective he provides on bhakti poetry." —The Journal of Religion

Cutler reveals the link between Tamil poetry and religion. His fluent translations make the poems—songs of the experience of God—live for us as they did for their first audience nearly fifteen centuries ago.

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Table of Contents

Note on Transliteration

Part I. Poems, Poets, and Poetics

Chapter One Poet, God, and Audience in the Poetry of the Tamil Saints
Chapter Two The Devotee’s Experience of the Sacred Tamil Hymns
Chapter Three The Poetics of Bhakti

Part II. Tamil Classicism and Bhakti: Conflict and Accommodation

Chapter Four A Devotional Poem in the Classical Mode
Chapter Five A Tamil Allegory of Love


Part III. Poems
Poykai, Putam, and Pey: The First Three Alvars

Notes to the Poems

Appendix A The Saints’ Hymns in Present-Day Temple Ritual
Appendix B Index of Mythological/Iconographic Allusions and Proper Names Occurring in the Poems
Appendix C Index of Motifs