Scholar of Hinduism and Mythology Wendy Doniger To Speak at Amherst College Apr. 4

February 7, 2005
Director of Media Relations
413/542-8417

AMHERST, Mass.-Wendy Doniger, a scholar of Hinduism and mythology, will speak on "The Man Who Would Not Sleep With His Wife Until She Bore Him a Son" on Monday, Apr. 4, at 4:30 p.m. in the Pruyne Lecture Hall (Fayerweather 115) at Amherst College. Doniger is a visiting Phi Beta Kappa scholar at Amherst, and her talk, sponsored by the Phi Beta Kappa chapter, the Lurcy Fund and the Departments of Religion and Anthropology and Sociology at Amherst, is free and open to the public. A reception and booksigning will follow.

The director of the Martin Marty Center and Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, Doniger is a noted chronicler of Hinduism and mythology. In mythology, her work addresses wide cross-cultural themes; in Hinduism, in addition to its mythology, she considers literature, law, gender and ecology. Her freely ranging scholarship-and a "spirit of wry playfulness," as The New York Times characterized it-incorporates death, dreams, evil, horses, sex and women.

Doniger's most recent book, the just-published The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation, explores the theme of self-impersonation, whose widespread occurrence-the stories range from ancient Indian literature through medieval European courtly literature and Shakespeare to Hollywood and Bollywood-demonstrates its literary power and its human value. The book is the final volume of a trilogy that includes The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth (1998) and The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade (2000).

The author of many translations and interpretations of Sanskrit classics under the name of Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty, Doniger also wrote The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology (1976), Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts (1980), Siva: The Erotic Ascetic (1981), Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities (1984), Tales of Sex and Violence: Folklore, Sacrifice, and Danger in the Jaiminiya Brahmana (1985), Other People's Myths: the Cave of Echoes (1988) and Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India (1999). Doniger edited Mythologies, an English-language edition of Yves Bonnefoy's 1,300-page Dictionnaire des Mythologies.

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