Wendy Doniger - "Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares: Horses in Indian Myth and History" - Whitney Cox

Thursday, April 29, 2021 - 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Wendy Doniger

Wendy Doniger will discuss Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares: Horses in Indian Myth and History. She will be joined in conversation by Whitney Cox.

Virtual Event


About the book: Horses are not indigenous to India. They had to be imported, making them expensive and elite animals. How then did Indian villagers—who could not afford horses and often had never even seen a horse—create such wonderful horse stories and brilliant visual images of horses? In Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares, Wendy Doniger, called "the greatest living mythologist," examines the horse’s significance throughout Indian history from the arrival of the Indo-Europeans, followed by the people who became the Mughals (who imported Arabian horses) and the British (who imported thoroughbreds and Walers). Along the way, we encounter the tensions between Hindu stallion and Arab mare traditions, the imposition of European standards on Indian breeds, the reasons why men ride mares to weddings, the motivations for murdering Dalits who ride horses, and the enduring myth of foreign horses who emerge from the ocean to fertilize native mares.

About the author: Wendy Doniger [O'Flaherty] received her BA from Radcliffe College in June 1962, summa cum laude, in Sanskrit and Indian Studies; her Ph. D. in Sanskrit and Indian Studies from Harvard University in June, 1968; and her D. Phil. in Oriental Studies from Oxford University in February 1973.   Having taught at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London and at the University of California at Berkeley, she was a full professor in the Divinity School and the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago from 1978 to 2018 and, since 1986, the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of the History of Religions, now Emerita.   She is the author of translations of Sanskrit texts, including the Rig Veda [1981], the Laws of Manu [1991], the Kamasutra [2002], and The Lady of the Jewel Necklace and The Lady Who Shows Her Love [2006], as well as books about Hindu history (The Hindus:  An Alternative History) [2009], Against Dharma [2018], Hindu myths (Siva: The Erotic Ascetic [1973], The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology [1976], Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India [1998], and On Hinduism [2013]), about comparative mythology (Other Peoples' Myths:  The Cave of Echoes [1984] and The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth [1999]), and about myths about sex (The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade[2000]) and love (The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was [2005], The Ring of Truth [2017], The Donigers of Great Neck:  A Mythologized Memoir [2019]), and Winged Stallions and Wicked Mares: Horses in Indian Myth and History [April, 2021].  In press is After the War: The Last Books of the Mahabharata and in progress, Letters from India, 1963-4.

About the interlocutor: Whitney Cox is Associate Professor in the Department of South Asian Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. His main interests are in the literary and intellectual history of southern India in the early second millennium CE.  Within that broad range, his research has concentrated on Sanskrit kāvya and poetic theory, the history of the Śaiva religion, and medieval Tamil literature and epigraphy, especially that of the Coḻa dynastic state.  Cox is also interested in the practice of literary translation and critical edition. His publications include Modes of Philology in Medieval South India, and Politics, Kingship, and Poetry in Medieval South India. Forthcoming works include translations of Bilhaṇa’s Vikramāṅkadevacarita and the third book of Kampan’s Tamil Rāmāyaṇam, as well as a study of the interactions between Kashmir and India’s Tamil-speaking south over the medieval period.
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