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Women of the Kakawin World : Marriage and Sexuality in the Indic Courts of Java and Bali - Helen Creese

Women of the Kakawin World

Marriage and Sexuality in the Indic Courts of Java and Bali

Hardcover Published: 27th October 2004
ISBN: 9780765601599
Number Of Pages: 376

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In this fascinating study the lives and mores of women in one of the least understood but most densely populated areas of the world are unveiled through the eyes of generations of court poets. For more than a millennium, the poets of the Indic courts of Java and Bali composed epic kakawin poems in which they recreated the court environment where they and their royal patrons lived. Major themes in this poetry form include war, love, and marriage. It is a rich source for the cultural and social history of Indonesia. Still being produced in Bali today, kakawin remain of interest and relevance to Balinese cultural and religious identities. This book draws on the epic kakawin poetry tradition to examine the institutions of courtship and marriage in the Indic courts. Its primary purpose is to explore the experiences of women belonging to the kakawin world, although the texts by nature reveal more about the discourses concerning women, sexuality, and gender than of the historical experiences of individual women. For over a thousand years these royal courts were major patrons of the arts. The court-sponsored epic works that have survived provide an ongoing literary testimony to the cultural and social concerns of court society from its ealiest recorded history until its demise at the end of the nineteenth century. This study examines the idealized images of women and sexuality that have pervaded Javanese and Balinese culture and provides insights into a number of cultural practices such as sati or bela (self-immolation of widows).

Industry Reviews

"'Helen Creese, internationally known for her scholarship on early Balinese and Javanese literature, has broken new ground in this eagerly awaited and richly illustrated book. Her sensitive and nuanced reading of kakawin poetry opens up an intensely human world where formalized depictions of courtly love provide invaluable insights into women's experiences of marriage and sexuality. Through its skillful interweaving of gender, literature, and history, Women of the Kakawin World represents a landmark in Southeast Asian studies that will be an inspiration and a model for scholars working elsewhere in the region.' - Barbara Watson Andaya, University of Hawaii"

List of Illustrative Materials
The Kakawin Genre
Functions of Kakawin Poetry
The Kakawin World
Questions of History and Gender
Fact and Fiction
Like a Precious Jewel: Life at Court
Within the Palace Walls
Life Stages
A Fitting Partner: Courtship and Betrothal
Forms of Marriage in Kakawin
Forms of Marriage in the Indic Courts
The Relationships Between Spouses
The Time Appointed: The Ceremonies of Marriage
The Preparations
The Wedding Rituals
An Experience So Wondrous: Kakawin Sexuality
The Consummation of the Union
The Kraban Ceremonies Kakawin Sexuality
Nothing Is More Virtuous: Death and Loyalty
The Self-immolation of Women in Kakawin Sati in Historical Perspective
The Poetics of Control
Appendix: Textual Sources
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780765601599
ISBN-10: 0765601591
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 376
Published: 27th October 2004
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.88  x 3.18
Weight (kg): 0.66