About the book:
Tamil literary folklore has so far received little attention, in spite of a few early publications which appeared mostly in the 19th century. Most of the Tamil literary texts translated into Western languages, or analyzed in Indological literature, belonged to the Tamil “Great Tradition” of high literary culture. And yet, there exists an enormous wealth of oral and semioral traditions of verbal art in Tamil, as in any other Indian language; some of these pieces of literary folklore have appeared in print as chapbooks and are very popular with Tamil readers, but ignored by “respectable” literary scholarship.
The two folk-narratives translated in this book belong to the favorite pieces of Tamil folklore. Apart from being expressions of sheer narrative joy and creative phantasy of the Tamil people, they are a rich source of comparative data on various motifs, customs, stylistic devices etc., and therefore they will not only amuse and delight the general reader. but be of great use to all students of Indian literatures, and of comparative folklore.
About the Author:
Kamil V. Zvelebil (b. 1927 in Prague), at present Chairman of the Oriental Institute, University of Utrecht, is well-known as a leading scholar in the field of Dravidian studies, particularly Tamil linguistics and literature. He had been active at a number of universities, teaching various aspects of Dravidian languages and cultures at Prague, Heidel berg, Chicago, Rochester, Paris, Madras and Leiden. Apart from hundreds of papers, reviews and translations, he has to his credit a few basic books dealing with comparative Dravidian grammar, the history of Tamil literature, and the tribal languages of the Nilgiris. Lately, his attention has been directed towards Tamil folklore. At present he is engaged in the preparation of a large, critical history of Tamil oral and written verbal art, and in the translation into English of the illus trious Dr. U.V. Swaminatha Iyer’s massive Autobiography.