Dear Colleagues,

I am pleased to announce publication of my new book, Shared Characters in Jain, Buddhist and Hindu Narrative: Gods, Kings and Other Heroes, in the Routledge series Dialogues in South Asian Traditions. The book is the major output from an AHRC project “The Story of Story in Early South Asia”, which I carried out with James Hegarty of Cardiff University between 2013 and 2016. A paperback will appear in due course.

The publisher’s blurb reads: Taking a comparative approach which considers characters that are shared across the narrative traditions of early Indian religions (Brahmanical Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism) Shared Characters in Jain, Buddhist and Hindu Narrative explores key religious and social ideals, as well as points of contact, dialogue and contention between different worldviews. The book focuses on three types of character - gods, heroes and kings - that are of particular importance to early South Asian narrative traditions because of their relevance to the concerns of the day, such as the role of deities, the qualities of a true hero or good ruler and the tension between worldly responsibilities and the pursuit of liberation. Characters (including character roles and lineages of characters) that are shared between traditions reveal both a common narrative heritage and important differences in worldview and ideology that are developed in interaction with other worldviews and ideologies of the day. As such, this study sheds light on an important period of Indian religious history, and will be essential reading for scholars and postgraduate students working on early South Asian religious or narrative traditions (Jain, Buddhist and Hindu) as well as being of interest more widely in the fields of Religious Studies, Classical Indology, Asian Studies and Literary Studies. 

All the best,

Dr Naomi Appleton
Senior Lecturer in Asian Religions
School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh