Cover: A Storm of Songs: India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement, from Harvard University PressCover: A Storm of Songs in HARDCOVER

A Storm of Songs

India and the Idea of the Bhakti Movement

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Product Details


$56.00 • £44.95 • €50.50

ISBN 9780674187467

Publication Date: 03/09/2015


464 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

11 halftones, 2 maps, 1 table


It should be essential reading for all students of Indian religious history and will provide a model for future histories of different elements of the Indian bhakti traditions.—John E. Cort, Religious Studies Review

In this comprehensive book, Hawley traces the 20th-century history of the notion of the bhakti movement—the idea that there was a significant, unified, pan-Indic turn to devotional religiosity in medieval India. The author argues that the invention and promotion of this idea was a key aspect of nation building in that it offered a narrative of Hindu unity despite the vast and disparate set of religious processes ranging over different vernacular languages, regions, and time periods. Hawley also shows how Muslim contributions to affective, devotional bhakti religiosity were often marginalized in this narrative. He covers in detail the primary intellectual forces behind the idea of the bhakti movement (for example V. Raghavan), arguing that it was a conception constructed largely by Indian intellectuals (although European scholars had a hand in shaping the idea). He also considers at length pre-modern conceptions of how bhakti as a historical phenomenon was viewed… This book is a model of meticulous intellectual history of modern India.—M. Heim, Choice

Hawley is a master of North Indian devotional literature. He understands the inner logic and expressive aims of this powerful religious movement, and he makes lucid, convincing judgments on major historical questions in this innovative study.—David Shulman, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

There is no other scholar who could have pulled off the wonderfully exciting achievement of this book. It is erudite, wide-ranging, meticulous, accessible, articulate, and elegant. Hawley’s scholarship is in many ways revolutionary and of huge significance to our understanding of devotional religion in India.—Rupert Snell, The University of Texas at Austin

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