The Recognition of Śakuntalā: Sex, Comedy, and Rasa – October 1

A Lecture by: Dr. Rita Banerjee
Rutgers University *
Thursday October 1, 2015 * 3:20-4:40 pm
Rutgers Cinema Room 2 * Livingston Campus

This lecture will focus on how Rasa Theory, as outlined by the dramatist Bharata in his Nāṭyaśāstra and the 10th century aesthetician Abhivanagupta, can be read in Kālidāsa’s play, The Recognition of Śakuntalā.  This talk will focus on how Kālidāsa employs various bhāvas (emotions), alaṃkāras (literary devices), and forms of abhinaya (acting) through suggestion (dhvani) to manipulate the emotional state of his audience.  Sex, comedy, and the emotional upheaval of Kālidāsa’s play will be compared to later adaptations of Śakuntalā and to the structure and eros of Goethe’s Faust.

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