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To compile all books that is written about Tamil Literature in english would itself be worth of a book. So I just mentioning few books which I use or had a look at,
Tamil Literature: history and critical study
The Smile of Murugan : History of Tamil Literature of South India by Kamil V Zvelebil
- This book has essays on why Tamil is a classical Language,Sangam Literature, Tolkapiayam, Silapadikaram, Kamba Ramayanam, ArunaGiri’s songs, Tamil Prosody,Modern Tamil Literature, Puthu Kavithai
- Best book for starter who wants to know about Tamil Literature
Tamil Literature by Kamil V Zvelebil
- This book has essays on various technical issues with Tami literature like problems with dating, authenticity and authorship.
- This book also deals with various myths regarding Tamil literature and explains what the real facts are.
The Poets of Ancient Tamil : Their milieu and their Sanskrit Literature By George L Hart
- This books reconstructs the life of Early Tamils based on Sangam Literature and in second part compares the Tamil Literature with Sanskrit Literature
Tamil Heroic Poetry by Kailasapathy
- This books compares Tamil Puram poems with Greek heroic poetry.
- This book till date is the best work on Puram genre of Sangam Literature
The eight anthologies : a study in early Tamil literature by John Ralston Marr
- This book is very useful if you would like to get critical study on poetics and kings and cheifteins of Sangam Era.
- This can be surely attributed as best critical work on Purananuruu with regards to Kings and Chieftains.
Literary conventions of Akam poetry by Kamil Zvelebil
- One best books to read when you want to understand the various theme involved in Akam poetry.
- Reading this book would give an entirely new dimension to Sangam poetry for the starters.
- The whole format of the book is such that each theme follows in such way that whole book looks like story and each theme is part of a bigger story(That exactly how Sangam literature is written!)
The Tamil Concept of Love by V Sp Manickam
- Study on Akam poems of Sangam poetry
Landscape and Poetry – A study of nature in Classical Poetry by Xavier Thani Nayagam
- A detailed study of treatment of nature in Sangam poems
Tamil Love poetry and poetics – Takanobu Takahashi
- A work providing explanation and examples for various treatise on Tamil Akam Literature.
Home Life among Tamils in the Sangam Age by K.Gnanambal
- A work which presents the social life of the people of Sangam age.
- Some caution should be taken while reading the book. Some explanations for Tamil Literature has been given from other Sanskrit sources. Tamil traditions seems have to be distinct from their Sanskrit counterparts.
- Available free online http://www.archive.org/details/homelifeamongthe035033mbp
Tamil Literature: English Translations
Sips from the Sangam Cup by A.V.Subrahmanian
- Gives translations of Sangam poems of various themes in prose format.
- Highly recommended for reader who want to know about different facets of Sangam Poems.
Ainkurunuru – Translation and commentry by Jyothimuthu
- Complete Translations of Ainkurunuru with short commentary on each poem.
Kurunthokai : An anthology of Tamil classical poetry by M.Shanmugam Pillay and David Ludden
- Complete translation of Kurunthokai
- The poem numbers in traditional commentary and poem number in this book doesn’t match, though in last few pages mapping between traditional numbering and their numbering is given.
- All the poems are translated with use of old commentaries rather than the word for word translation – SO caution should be taken while reading some of the translations.
Narrinai – An anthology of Amour by A.V.Subrahmanian
- Complete Translation of Narrinai
Paripatal – Institute of Asian Studies
- Complete translation with introduction essay.
Kalithokai in English – Institute of Asian Studies
- Complete translation with introduction essay.
The Interior Landscape (Kurunthokai) by A.K.Ramanujan
- Translations of select poems form Kurunthokai
Pattupattu: Ten Tamil Idylls by J.V.Chellaih
- Complete translation with introdution and notes.
- Translation in Victorian English which is difficult to read for any common reader.
- Introduction and his short notes in this book are really good.
Tamil poetry through ages – volume two : Pattupattu: Ten Idylls – Institute of Asian Studies
- Complete translation with Introduction
Poems of love and war : from the eight anthologies and the ten long poems of classical Tamil by A.K.Ramanujan
- Translation of select Sangam Literature poems
Hymns for the drowning : poems for Visnu by A.K.Ramanujan
- Translation of Nammalvar poems
The Poets of Tamil Anthologies: Ancient poems of Love and War by Gorge L Hart
- Translations of select poems from Ainkurunuru, Kurunthokai, Akanaanuru , Narrinai , Purunaanuru
Silapadikaram(The Ankle Braclet) by Alain Danielou
- The most poetic translation of Silapadikaram
- Not very accurate translation, for accurate translation you can read R.Dikishitar version of Silapadikaram Translation.
- Recommended if you just want enjoy poetic beauty of Illanko
Cilapathikaram by Ramchandra Dikshitar
- Probably the most accurate translation in English.
- Though the author considers the Cilapathikaram as a sangam work- refuted by many. So crtical study given by the author should be read with caution.
- Recommended for any detailed study on Cilapthikaram
The four hundred songs of war and wisdom : an anthology of poems from classical Tamil : the Purananuru by George L. Hart, Hank Heifetz
- Complete Translation of Puranaanuru with notes and introduction essay.
The forest book of Ramayana of Kamban by George L. Hart and Hank Heifetz
- Translation of Aranya Kandam of Kamba ramayana with Introduction essay.
The poets of the powers by Kamil V Zvelebil
- Translations of Tamil Cittar Poetry.
- ALso has biography of the Cittars and also has details on their philosophy.
Tamil Traditions of Subrahmanya Murugan by Kamil V Zvelebil
- Essays on Integration of North Indian Skanda and Tamil Murugan.
Thirumurgan by Kamil V Zvelebil
- Essays on Myths of Murugan which are exclusive to Tamil/Dravidan people.
The many faces of Murukan : The history of a South Indian God by Fred W Clothey
- Traces history of Murugan from Pre history to present day Tamil Kadavul
- Has summary of all Sanskrit sources of Skanda and from all major Tamil Literature.
Buddhism in Tamil Nadu: Collected Papers – Institute of Asian Studies
- A book which is collection of various papers on Buddhism in Tamil Nadu.
- A Must read book to know about Buddhism its patronage , growth and influence in Tamil Nadu.
Murugan god of Kurunchi : Collected papers – Institute of Asian Studies
- Collection of various papers on Muruga
- Various papers explore different facets of Muruga Myths and legends.
Tamil Temple Myths by David Shulman
- Essays on various exclusive Dravidian myths that got integrated into Brahminic religion by the means of Sthalapuranas.
- An excellent must read book on Tamil Puranas and Myths.
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