Doctor of Philosophy in Asian Studies (PhD)
Critical Edition and Annotated translation of a tenth-century Sanskrit sex-manual
In this thesis, I discuss classical Sanskrit women poets and propose an alternative reading of two specific women’s works as a way to complicate current readings of Classical Sanskrit women’s poetry. I begin by situating my work in current scholarship on Classical Sanskrit women poets which discusses women’s works collectively and sees women’s work as writing with alternative literary aesthetics. Through a close reading of two women poets (c. 400 CE-900 CE) who are often linked, I will show how these women were both writing for a courtly, educated audience and argue that they have different authorial voices. In my analysis, I pay close attention to subjectivity and style, employing the frameworks of Sanskrit aesthetic theory and Classical Sanskrit literary conventions in my close readings. In concluding this analysis I make the case that the two authors have different authorial voices and through these voices, had different engagements within mainstream Sanskrit literary production. Overall, my reading of these two authors portrays an alternative image of women’s courtly literary production—namely, that they wrote for an audience and were invested in mainstream Sanskrit literary aesthetics.