Kabīr: Oral to Manuscript Transitions


Kabīr (ca. 1400-50) is one of the most famous poet saints of Northern India. Circulating in Indian oral traditions for over six centuries, his songs continue to be part of the lived experience of people in India. Beginning in the late-sixteenth century, Kabīr songs were written down in a variety of manuscript traditions associated with different communities. Friedlander examines how manuscript and print traditions offer a window on the contexts in which Kabīr songs flourished as oral traditions. He argues that the various forms the songs took as they transitioned from oral, manuscript, and print media vividly portray not only the voices of the singers, but also the worlds of the audiences who listened to Kabīr songs.

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