Material Devotion in a South Indian Poetic World (Bloomsbury Academic, 2020) contributes new methods for the study and interpretation of material religion found within literary landscapes. The poets of Hindu devotion are known for their intimate celebration of deities, and while verses over a thousand years old are still treasured, translated, and performed, little attention has been paid to the evocative sensorial worlds referenced by these literary compositions. This book offers a material interpretation of an understudied poem that defined an entire genre of South Asian literature -Tirukkovaiyar-the 9th-century Tamil poem dedicated to Shiva. The poetry of Tamil South India invites travel across real and imagined geography, naming royal patrons, ancient temple towns, and natural landscapes. Leah Elizabeth Comeau locates the materiality of devotion to Shiva in a world unique to the South Indian vernacular and yet captivating to audiences across time, place, and tradition.
Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.