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Document Details :

Title: The Generative Power of Disgust
Subtitle: Aesthetics, Morality, and the Abject Preta Body
Author(s): MCNICHOLL, Adeana
Journal: Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies
Volume: 43    Date: 2020   
Pages: 129-165
DOI: 10.2143/JIABS.43.0.3289054

Abstract :
What can Buddhist portrayals of the non-human body tell us about the human body? What can we learn from abject bodies in Buddhist literature? In this article I examine depictions of the abject body of disgusting pretas in early South Asian narratives for insight on what they reveal about early Buddhist attitudes toward human difference. I bring into conversation Indian and Western aesthetic theories to show how preta literature combines literary aesthetics and somatic descriptions. I argue that by examining abject preta bodies in accordance with their aesthetic description and function, we can observe two overlapping somatic discourses at work. The first speaks to the ultimately impermanent nature of the body, while the second depicts bodies as simultaneously ethical subjects and objects.

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