RLG465H5 • Sex and Renunciation in Sanskrit Poetry

This course examines the paradoxical relationship of the erotic in Sanskrit poetry with its opposite—renunciation and the technologies of asceticism involving a rejection of sexuality. While the treatment of these themes reflects a deeper civilizational history emblematized by the figure of Śiva, the erotic ascetic, Sanskrit courtly poetry allows us to examine problems peculiar to courtly life and kingship. Did the aestheticization of power in Sanskrit poetry conflict with transcendental ideals? How was the legitimacy of pleasure seen as both autonomous from and concurrent with other legitimate human ends? We will read all works in translation, and no familiarity with Sanskrit is presumed.

(RLG205H5 or RLG210H5) and 1.5 RLG credits
In Class
History of Religions