Interpretation of the Motif of 'Kamanoy' (love-sickness) in the context of Tamil 'Kuravanci' literature
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The present paper is an attempt to interpret the motif of 'kamanoy' (love-sickness) in the context of Tamil 'kuravanci' literature. The paper begins with general remarks concerning terminology, which is followed by the section introducing the subject of the analysis. A brief presentation of the theme of 'kamanoy' as depicted in the earliest Tamil literature, i.e.'cankam' poetry (ca.1st-3rd centuries A.D.) serves this purpose. The essential part of the analysis is focused on the literary genre known as 'kuravanci', which represents the relatively late stratum of Tamil literature (approximately 17th-19th centuries). The young heroine of the 'kuravanci' on seeing the god or the king in procession is subject to a serious psychophysical disorder, which is described in terms of a sickness manifesting a set of specific symptoms (here: 'kamanoy'). The motif is analysed basically with reference to the Tamil concept of feminine inner energy, which has been identified as 'ananku' in the ancient Tamil sources. Another tool that is utilised for interpretation of the texts is the category of liminality as formulated by V. Turner. The analysis leads to the conclusion that 'kamanoy' can be interpreted as a poetic vision of the manifestation of the feminine inner energy at the moment of attaining puberty by the young heroine. It is further stated that the motif serves as a symbol of her liminal state and status.
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