Professor M. Winternitz is one of the most distinguished German Sanskritists of this century. He visited India during 1922-23 at the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore. At that time he delivered six lectures on various problems of Indian literary historiography at the University of Calcutta. Some Problems of Indian Literature is the collection of those illuminating lectures which gave new insights to the study of Indian literature and culture. Here one finds pragmatic suggestions towards the ascertaining of the date of composition of the Vedic hymns, lucid analysis of the nature of ascetic poetry as found in the Mahabharata as well as in various Buddhist and Jain texts, an exposition on the ancient Indian ballads and their relation with later epics and plays, a thoughtful account of the Arthasastra and also one of the early critique on the plays of Bhasa. Professor Winternitz considered the history of the literary treasures "as part and parcel of the history of man." This comprehensive and larger view of literary history has given his writings a distinction. The chapter on Indian Literature and World Literature is an essay towards the understanding of the universality of literature. His admiration for Sanskrit literature is balanced by his objectivity and the lucidity of his style is but a manifestation of the clarity and richness of his thought and perception. In fact, this book is to be read and appreciated as a part of his greater work, History of Indian Literature, the most comprehensive and authoritative account of the ancient Indian literary activities.
About the Author:
Maurice Winternitz was born in Austria on 23 December 1863. After the completion of his studies at his native town, he entered the University of Vienna in 1880 for higher studies. In 1885, he was awarded doctorate for his thesis on "Ancient Indian marriage ritual according to Apastamba, compared with the marriage customs of the Indo-European peoples". In 1898 he went over to Oxford as an amanuensis of Professor Max Mueller where he stayed for 16 years during which he worked for the preparation of the second edition of the Rgveda. During this period, he began the task of cataloguing the Vedic manuscripts in the Bodlein Library and the Whish Collection of south Indian manuscripts at the Royal Asiatic Society, London, besides working on a General Index to the 49 volumes of the Sacred Books of the East series. In 1899, he was appointed Lecturer of Indo-Aryan Philology and Ethnology at the University of Prague and, in 1911, to the chair. In 1904, he established a special library of Indology and Ethnology at the University. He came to India in 1922 at the invitation of Rabindranath Tagore. During his sojourn in India, he delivered lectures at Universities and learned societies. He also wrote over 450 articles. He died on 9 January, 1937.
Ascetic Literature in Ancient India
Ancient Indian Ballad Poetry
Indian Literature and World Literature
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