About the Book:
Indian Kavya Literature is Planned in eight volumes as a comprehensive study of literature (kavya) in the Indian tradition from the standpoint of the literary criticism of the standpoint of the literary criticism of the that same tradition. Surprising as it may seem, Indian literature has not till now been presented form this obvious, natural and necessary point of view in any modern language, except in a limited and primarily bibliographical manner by Krishna-machariar in his History of Classical Sanskrit Literature (1937). Instead, Indian literature has been misrepresented and misjudged from a narrowly European, and therefore quite alien and unhelpful, standpoint in the modern works on it widely accepted as 'standard'. It is exceedingly odd that even several modern Indian writers have performed the feat of adopting this alienated and distant view, diminishing Indian culture in the midst of the struggle for Indian freedom from colonialism. The present work is intended to restore Indian literature to independence and to India, as a step towards that freedom from spiritual colonialism which India has yet to attain. But the method of presentation here involves no political discussions and is very simple and straightforward: the aim is the enjoyment of the literature as it was meant to be enjoyed.
The first volume prepares the way for the enjoyment of Indian literature by presenting Indian literary criticism and thus clarifying the techniques and aims of Indian writers. This criticism includes the various aesthetic theories as to the nature of the enjoyment of literature by readers and audiences, the techniques of dramaturgy and poetics whereby this enjoyment is created, the nature of the literary genres (drama, epic, the novel, etc.) and a sketch of the milieu of the writers and critics.
The remaining volumes present the literature itself in successive periods of its development, from the point of view of the criticism thus outlined. Volume II deals with the formation of the tradition known as Kavya and with the early classical models created by Valmiki, Gunadhya, Asvaghosa, Satavahana, Bhasa and others. Volume III presents the literature of the early medieval period, including Sudraka, Kalidasa, Amaruka, Bharavi, Visakhadatta and other. These two volumes were published in 1974 and 1977 and Vol. IV in 1983.
The author is Professor of Sanskrit in the University of Toronto.
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