Devotional Subjectivity and the Fiction of Femaleness: Feminist Hermeneutics and the Articulation of Difference
The hermeneutical project of this essay is to identify the priorities of a classical female Hindu poet-saint through analysis of her poetry and comparative analysis of an authoritative biography of her, composed subsequently by a male court minister. That her poetry survived may be directly related to his identification of her as a saint, and yet his biography has also served to marginalize her poetry since it is only his work that is widely known. The argument in this essay is that these two compositions, while they overtly seek to define and describe the nature of devotion to Śiva, are centrally, and divergently, concerned with a woman's ability to speak authoritatively. Through this analysis, Pechilis argues that both the poet-saint and her biographer belong within a genealogy of feminism; the inclusion of these authors from remote history challenges any perceived dichotomy between the history of feminism and women's history.
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