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Literature, Persuasion and Devotion in the Eighteenth Century
In Writing Tamil Catholicism: Literature, Persuasion and Devotion in the Eighteenth Century, Margherita Trento explores the process by which the Jesuit missionary Costanzo Giuseppe Beschi (1680-1747), in collaboration with a group of local lay elites identified by their profession as catechists, chose Tamil poetry as the social and political language of Catholicism in eighteenth-century South India.
Trento analyzes a corpus of Tamil grammars and poems, chiefly Beschi’s Tēmpāvaṇi, alongside archival documents to show how, by presenting themselves as poets and intellectuals, Catholic elites gained a persuasive voice as well as entrance into the learned society of the Tamil country and its networks of patronage.