BOOK REVIEWS 521 India ARASA READER. By Sheldon Pollock. New York: Columbia University Press, 2016. Paperback edition: 2018. $32.45. The study of theatre and performance revels in theoretical terminology, from alienation to yūgen. Except in sadly superficial reiterations, rasa remains outside of parlance that is not expressly concerned with South Asian art and performance. In early 2018, Columbia University Press issued an affordable paperback edition of Sheldon Pollock’s A Rasa Reader, reducing the room for excuses that performance studies scholars offer for not knowing anything of rasa and its history. Rasa could contribute significantly to performance theory, given the way in which performance studies, as a discipline, has turned its attention to the body. But the first paragraph of Pollock’s introduction to the book indicates just how significant—how broadly significant—rasa as a theory might be. In South Asia’s rumination on rasa, Pollock notes, the theatre experience provides the ground of human being, and “few people have meditated as deeply and systematically on the questions it raises as thinkers in India, who . . . carried on an intense conversation about the emotional world of the story and its complex relationships to the world of the audience” (p. 1). The
Asian Theatre Journal – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Oct 4, 2019
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