Wendy Doniger  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Wendy Doniger (born November 20 1940) is an American scholar of history of religion. Much of her work is focused on translating, interpreting and comparing elements of Hinduism through modern contexts of gender, sexuality and identity. From 1978, she has taught at the University of Chicago. Her work on Hinduism is controversial; the most high profile issue resulted in Microsoft Encarta investigating her scholarship and removing her article on Hinduism their encyclopedia due to alleged factual errors and charges of anti-Hindu bias.


Doniger holds two doctorates, from Harvard University and the University of Oxford, in Sanskrit and Indian Studies. She sits on the fourteen-member editorial board of Encyclopædia Britannica. She is also renowned for her writings on Comparative Mythology, namely commonalities between the myths of Ancient India and Ancient Greece.

Doniger is the author, translator, and editor of almost thirty books in as many years. She has translated many Sanskrit texts including the Rig Veda, Laws of Manu, and Kamasutra. Her current works in progress include a novel, Horses for Lovers, Dogs for Husbands and an interpretive work, The Mythology of Horses in India. Her latest book, The Woman Who Pretended To Be Who She Was, is about the mythology of self-imitation in ancient India, Shakespeare, medieval Celtic, German, and French romances, and Hollywood films. It forms the basis for her lecture, which is entitled "Self-Imitation in Ancient India, Shakespeare, and Hollywood."

Over her long career, Doniger's work has proceeded on two levels. On the first, she has made available to a general readership translations of Hindu texts, offering detailed introductions and notes to facilitate understanding. On the second, she has worked as a mythologist, bringing into comparison a wide range of narratives through the application of various interpretive lenses, such as feminist and Freudian analyses. Although her original research focused on Hindu mythology, reflecting her original training, she has increasingly diversified the field from which she draws her material and the cultures from which they derive. Her approach illuminates the similarities in tensions regarding gender, sexuality, and identity in narratives from a range of cultures.

The visibility of Doniger's scholarship led to some protests; in one incident, an egg was thrown at her during a November 2003 University of London lecture.

Works by Wendy Doniger

  • "Tales of Sex and Violence : Folklore, Sacrifice, and Danger in the Jaiminīya Brāhmaṇa" by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva" by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Dreams, Illusions and Other Realities" by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • The Oresteia: A New Translation for the Theater by Aeschylus, translated by Wendy Doniger and David Grene
  • Mythologies (2 vols.) edited by Yves Bonnefoy, translated under the direction of Wendy Doniger
  • The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth by Wendy Doniger
  • The Laws of Manu translated with an introduction by Wendy Doniger and Brian K. Smith
  • Purana Perennis: Reciprocity and Transformation in Hindu and Jaina Texts edited by Wendy Doniger
  • The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation by Wendy Doniger
  • "The Concept of Duty in South Asia" edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty and J. Duncan M. Derrett
  • "The Critical Study of Sacred Texts" edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts" by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Textual Sources for the Study of Hinduism" edited and translated by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty ; with Daniel Gold, David Haberman, and David Shulman
  • "The Rig Veda : An Anthology : One Hundred and Eight Hymns" selected, translated and annotated by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian traditions" edited by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • "Off with Her Head! : The Denial of Women's Identity in Myth, Religion, and Culture" edited by Howard Eilberg-Schwartz and Wendy Doniger
  • Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook Translated from the Sanskrit translated with an introduction by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • Other People's Myths: The Cave of Echoes by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • Siva: The Erotic Ascetic by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty
  • Myth and Method edited by Laurie L. Patton and Wendy Doniger
  • Splitting the Difference: Gender and Myth in Ancient Greece and India by Wendy Doniger
  • Bed as Autobiography: A Visual Exploration of John Ransom Philips by John Ransom Philips, introduction by Wendy Doniger, interview by Ariel Orr Jordan
  • "The Bedtrick : Tales of Sex and Masquerade" by Wendy Doniger
  • Kamasutra by Mallanaga Vatsyayana, translated by Wendy Doniger and Sudhir Kakar

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wendy Doniger" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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