From Shakuntala to Scheherazade to Marilyn Monroe, from Ancient India and Greece to Medieval Europe to modern cinema, sexual desire and jewelry, particularly rings, have been very often connected. Why do jewels keep appearing in stories about marriage and adultery, love and betrayal, identity and masquerade? What is the mythology that makes finger rings symbols of true (or, as the case may be, untrue) love across the world? In this dazzling work of scholarship and insight, Wendy Doniger answers these questions and more, as she shifts between Sanskrit and Greek epics, the plays of Kalidasa and Shakespeare, fairy tales and folklore, Hollywood films and pop songs.
The Ring of Truth is an illuminating and supremely entertaining examination of the enduring power of myth through stories—told across the world and over centuries—about jewels, romance and sex.
‘Only a great scholar like Wendy Doniger could bring together Shakuntala and Marie Antoinette, Solomon and Shakespeare and so many others with such ease and lucidity in an endlessly mesmerizing ring.’—Roberto Calasso, author of Ka and Ardor
‘Across 11 chapters we get intricate vignettes of desire, sex, gender roles and reversals, and by the end, the fragments build up to a mammoth tree…a compendious history of feminism itself. The Ring of Truth is not a book to be read at one go. You read a few chapters, easily remember them because of the gripping details, and return to what follows.’—Livemint
‘[T]ales of bling from all over the world…The mystical charge of [the ring] is legend and Doniger gives it its due. She is probably the first author to put all ring-related facts and fiction down in black and white—where they continue to sparkle not just as simple trinkets but as complicated relics and signature moves of the lovelorn and liars.’—The New Indian Express