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The grotesque body in Indian comic tradition An aesthetics of transgression

The paper examines the comic in relation to the figuration of the grotesque body in Sanskrit tradition in India. It is pursued with two objectives: firstly, to explore bodily figurations in the Indian comic tradition, and, further, to enquire the parallel elaboration of Bakhtin’s notion of the carnivalesque that celebrates the laughing body. A reading of a 14th century Indian text Hāsyārnava provides the ground for the elucidation. The paper elaborates on how the “distorted, deformed and diseased” body which Bharata refers to, the “grotesque body”t as Bakhtin says, institutes hāsya and carnivalesque discursively. The bodily desire pursued is pushed to the limits, resulting in rapture through a transgressive act.

By Rajni Mujral Inga kommentarer till The grotesque body in Indian comic tradition