A History of Indian Literature: 500-1399 (From the Courtly to the Popular)

A History of Indian Literature: 500-1399 (From the Courtly to the Popular)

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Item Code: IDG321
Author: Sisir Kumar Das
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi, Delhi
Edition: 2020
ISBN: 8126021713
Pages: 315
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 9.5

About the Book:

A prequel to A History of Indian Literature 1800-1910 by the same author, the present volume deals with the first nine hundred years of the medieval period of Indian literary history. The literary scene in India during the period presents a fantastically varied and wide spectrum of thought and expression, here vibrant, there dull, now vigorous and natural, now sophisticated and recondite, at once sublime and crude. It is amazing both in quality and quantity, produced in many languages, some interrelated and interdependent, sharing the same tradition, some distinctly separate and stubbornly resisting any possible influence of the other. As in other periods, so in the medieval period, there is a co-existence of different literary traditions, some old, refusing to die out, some dominant and popular, and some new struggling to assert themselves.

Radically different from all existing models of literary history, A History of Indian Literature is an account of the literary activities of the Indian people carried through in many languages and under different social conditions. It is the story of a multilingual literature, a plurality of linguistic expressions and cultural experience and also of the remarkable unity underlying them.

About the Author:

Sisir Kumar Das (1936-2003) was the Tagore Professor in the Department of Modern Indian Languages at Delhi University till 2001. A poet, playwright, children's writer, scholar and linguist, he authored several books in Bengali and English, including The Shadow of the Cross: Hinduism and Christianity in a Colonial Situation (1974) and The Artist in Chains: The Life of Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1986), both of which won him Rabindra Puraskar, the highest literary award of the West Bengal Government. He also edited The English Writings of Rabindranath Tagore in three volumes, published by the Sahitya Akademi in 1996.

 

CONTENTS

 

Foreword xi
Abbreviations xiii
CHAPTER ONE
 
1. The Foundation of Medieval Indian Literature 1
  I. PERIODIZATION 1
  II. THE LINGUISTIC SCENE 3
  III. AUTHORS-AUDIENCE-PATRONS 8
  IV. THE CLASSICAL HERITAGE OF THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD 11
  V. TWO STREAMS OF PHILOSOPHICAL THOUGHT 17
  VI. THE POLYPHONY OF MEDIEVAL INDIAN LITERATURE 20
  VII. THE ADVENT OF MUSLIM POWER AND LITERATURE 23
     
CHAPTER TWO
 
2. The Bhakti Movements: The Poetry of Ecstasy 27
  I. THE BEGINNINGS 27
  II. THE GREAT WORKS OF BHAKTI 30
  III. THE NAYANMARS 31
  IV. THE ALWARS 36
  V. MANIKKAVASAHARA 44
  VI. ANDAL: THE BRIDE OF KRISHNA 48
  VII. SOCIAL CONCERNS OF THE SAINTS 50
CHAPTER THREE
 
3. The World of Sanskrit Plays and Others Traditions 52
  I. A WORLD OF VARIETIES 52
  II. CONTINUITY AND INNOVATIONS 53
  III. SOCIAL REALITY AND EXTERNAL FEATURES 65
  IV. THE DECLINE OF THE ELITE TRADITIONS:
THE RISE OF THE POPULAR THEATRE
68
CHAPTER FOUR
 
4. Epic History Hagiography 70
  I. THE COURT-EPICS 70
  II. EPIC IN TAMIL 77
  III. TOWARDS HISTORY 81
  IV. HAGIOGRAPHIES 85
  V. A SIVA POEMS AND SAIVA BIOGRAPHIES 89
CHAPTER FIVE
 
5. The Prose Narratives and the Short Verses 92
  I. THE GADYA KAVYAS 92
  II. THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF TALES AND FABLES 99
  III. CHAIN OF STORIES 102
  IV. THE GREAT TREASURY 104
  V. JAIN NARRATIVES 106
  VI. A CROWD OF STARS 109
CHAPTER SIX
 
6. The Ramayana: Its Configurations 118
  I. MODES OF TRANSMISSION 118
  II. NON-BRAHMANICAL TRADITION OF THE RAMAYANA 119
  III. PLAYS ON THE EPIC THEMES 127
  IV. PHILOSOPHICAL POEMS ON THE RAMAYANA 128
CHAPTER SEVEN
 
7. Transcreations of the Epics 130
  I. POPULARITY OF THE RAMA LEGEND IN THE SOUTH 130
  II. IRAMAVATARAM OF KAMBAN 131
  III. LATER POETS OF THE RAMAYANA 137
  IV. THE MAHABHARATA 139
  V. THE RAMAYANA IN MALAYALAM 145
  VI. THE RAMAYANA IN ASSAMESE 145
CHAPTER EIGHT
 
8. Literature of the Non-Conformists 148
  I. SIDDHARS 148
  II. THE SAHAJIYAS 155
  III. THE VIRASAIVAS 161
CHAPTER NINE
 
9. Krishna and Radha 172
  I. THE BHAGAVATA PURANA 172
  II. THE GITAGOVINDAM 183
CHAPTER TEN
 
10. Innovations in Modern Indian Languages 189
  I. EXPERIMENTS OF THE JAIN POETS 189
  II. THE BEGINNINGS OF MARATHI LITERATURE 191
  III. POEMS OF LAL DED 193
  IV. JNANESWAR 197
CHAPTER ELEVEN
 
11. Developments in Modern Indian Languages 206
  I. THE ORAL SOURCES 206
  II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LYRICS AND NARRATIVE 211
  III. GROWTH OF LOCAL CULTS AND REGIONAL TRADITIONS 213
  IV. MAJOR FORCES REGULATING LITERARY PRODUCTION 220
  V. SPREAD OF SUFISM 222
CHAPTER TWELVE
 
12. The Spaces in Medieval Indian Literature 229
  I. THE COURT AND THE TEMPLE 229
  II. THE TEMPLES: VARIOUS IDEAS 233
  III. MYSTIC FORMS OF GODS 246
  Notes 250
  Index 271
  Bibliography 290

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