Front cover image for Ravana's kingdom : the Ramayana and Sri Lankan history from below

Ravana's kingdom : the Ramayana and Sri Lankan history from below

Justin W. Henry (Author)
"Ravana, the demon-king antagonist from the Ramayana, the ancient Hindu epic poem, has become an unlikely cultural hero among Sinhala Buddhists over the past decade. In Ravana's Kingdom, Justin W. Henry delves into the historical literary reception of the epic in Sri Lanka, charting the adaptions of its themes and characters from the 14th century onwards, as many Sri Lankan Hindus and Buddhists developed a sympathetic impression of Ravana's character, and through the contemporary Ravana revival, which has resulted in the development of an alternative mythological history, depicting Ravana as king of the Sri Lanka's indigenous inhabitants, a formative figure of civilizational antiquity, and the direct ancestor of the Sinhala Buddhist people. Henry offers a careful study of the literary history of the Ramayana in Sri Lanka, employing numerous sources and archives that have until now received little to no scholarly attention, as well as the 21st century revision of a narrative of the Sri Lankan people-a narrative incubated by the general public online, facilitated by social media and by the speed of travel of information in the digital age. Ravana's Kingdom offers a glimpse into a centuries-old, living Ramayana tradition among Hindus and Buddhists in Sri Lanka-a case study of the myth-making process in the digital age"-- Provided by publisher
eBook, English, 2023
Oxford University Press, New York, NY, 2023
1 online resource (xiii, 277 pages) : illustrations
9780197636329, 9780197636312, 9780197636336, 0197636322, 0197636314, 0197636330
Print version: Henry, Justin W.
Chapter 1: Echoes of the Past, Pressures of the Present1.1. "We belong to the Yaksha clan!"1.2. Ravana's Kingdom and 21st Century Populism1.3. The Pali Chronicle Tradition and History from Below1.4. Chapter SummariesChapter 2: Moving Mount Kailasa2.1. Ravana the Subaltern Cosmopolitan2.2. Ravana's Lanka in Indian Literature2.3. Ravana and Rama in Tamil Temple Literature2.4. Ravana's Lankan ImageChapter 3: The Many Ramayanas of Lanka3.1. The Presence and the Absence of the Ramayana3.2. The Ramayana in Sinhala Literature and Folklore3.3. Ravana's Mountain Abode3.4. The Survival of Ravana's Kingdom in Popular ImaginationChapter 4: Ravana in Modern Sri Lankan Literature4.1. The Ramayana and the Sinhala Neoclassical Movement4.2. Ravana on Stage and Screen4.3. Ravana's Liminal Status in History and Historical Fiction4.4. Ravana's Lanka as Lost Paradise4.5. ConclusionChapter 5: Terraforming the Past5.1. The Quest for Hela-Yakkha Civilization5.2. The Ramayana Trail5.3. Dasanana Ravana: A Master of Science and Medicine5.4. Ravana and Global Alternative Media5.5. Conclusion: "Our Hela World"Chapter 6: A Bridge Too Close6.1. Crossing the Ram Setu6.2. Mainstreaming Ravana's Kingdom6.3. Ravana and Post-War Reconciliation 6.4. The Apotheosis of the Demon-KingAppendix: Text and Translation of the Ravana KataBibliography