Tony K. Stewart
specialist in the religions and literatures of the Bengali-speaking world
Within the Hindu traditions I have focused on the creation of the Gaudiya Vaisnava movement of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the results of which can be found in my recent monograph titled The Final Word: the Caitanya Caritamrta and the Grammar of Religious Tradition (Oxford 2010). This work was preceded by and dependent on a translation of the key text, the encyclopaedic Caitanya Caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja, which I produced with the late Edward C. Dimock, Jr. (Harvard Oriental Series 1999). Followers of the Vaisnava traditions also recognize a figure named Satya Pir, which provided a segue into the Islamic literatures of Bengal, especially of the area now known as Bangladesh. Satya Pir, who is considered to be both an avatara of Krsna as well as a Sufi saint, represents a rapprochment of Muslims and Hindus in a plural Bengali society in the premodern period. In Fabulous Females and Peerless Pirs (Oxford 2004) I translated eight tales out of several hundred, each focused on the ways women, aided by Satya Pir, keep the world ordered in the wake of male-generated chaos. That literature in turn pointed me to write Witness to Marvels: Sufism and Literary Imagination (California, 2019) which examines the ways the Islamic imaginaire has insinuated itself seamlessly into a Bengali consciousness through mythic heroes who extend their help and protection to anyone regardless of sectarian affiliation. The accompanying anthology of fully translated tales, tentatively titled The Needle at the Bottom of the Sea: Writing Bengal into the World of Islam should be released shortly.
Monographs & Translations
From the 14th century to the present, studies and translations of religious narrative, hagiography, and poetry of Muslim and Hindu traditions of the Bangla-speaking world.
Witness to Marvels: Sufism and the Literary Imagination.
Berkeley: University of California Press, 2019, xxxi, 300pp. Bibliography, index. Also available free of charge in Luminosoa open access format: https://www.luminosoa.org/site/books/10.1525/luminos.76/
The Final Word: The Caitanya Caritamrta and the Grammar of Religious Tradition.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2010.
ISBN 978-0-19-539272-2; BL1285.392.C53S77 2009
Fabulous Females and Peerless Pirs: Tales of Mad Adventure in Old Bengal.
New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
ISBN 0-19-516529--2; 0-19-516530-6 (pbk) PK1716.5 FAA 2003
With Chase Twichell.
The Lover of God: Rabindranath Tagore's 'Bhanusimher Padavali.'
Port Townsend, OR: Copper Canyon Press., 2003.
ISBN 1-55659-196-9; PK 1723.168 200
Edward C. Dimock, Jr., trans.
The Caitanya Caritamrta of Krsnadasa Kaviraja
. Edited by Tony K. Stewart. With an introduction by the Translator and the Editor. Harvard Oriental Series no. 56. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University, 1999. ISBN 0-674-00285-7; BL1285.392C53K43
Select Essays and Articles
Explorations of the ritual and iterary expressions of Bengali religion, with special emphasis on the hermeneutics of Bengal's unique heteroglossia.
- “The Power of the Secret: The Tantalizing Discourse of Vaiṣṇava Sahajiyā Scholarship” in The Legacy of Vaiṣṇavism in Colonial Bengal. Edited by Ferdinando Sardelli and Lucien Wong. London: Routledge, 2020, pp. 125-66.
- “Caitanya and the Foundation of Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇavism.” In History of Bangladesh: Sultanate and Mughal Periods (ca. 1200-1800 ce). Edited by Momin Chowdhury. 2 vols. Dhaka: Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, 2020; vol. 2: Society, Economy, Culture, pp. 373-402.
- “Replicating Vaisnava Worlds: Organizing Devotional Space through the Architectonics of the Mandala. South Asian History and Culture 2, no. 2 (April 2011): 300-336
- The Subject and the Ostensible Subject: Mapping the Genre of Hagiography among South Asian Chishtis. In Rethinking Islamic Studies: From Orientalism to Cosmopolitanism. Edited by Carl W. Ernst and Richard Martin. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2010, pp. 227-44.
- In Search of Equivalence: Conceiving Muslim-Hindu Encounter through Translation Theory. History of Religions 40, no. 3 (Winter 2001): 261-88.