Fall 2008

Classical Indian Literature

Listed in: Asian Languages and Civilizations, as ASLC-32


Indira V. Peterson (Section 01)


(SA) An introduction to the rich classical literature and secular literary culture of ancient India, through readings in translation, mainly from the Sanskrit, but also from the Prakrit, Pali and Tamil languages. We will study major works in the principal genres of classical Indian Kavya courtly literature from the beginnings to the 11th century, paying attention to issues of genre, to themes and contexts drawn from courtly culture and ancient Indian civilization (poetic language, kingship, nature, gender), to literary theory and criticism, and to comparative perspectives. Texts studied include the epic Ramayana, Kalidasa’s drama Shakuntala and the Ring of Recognition, Sanskrit and Tamil lyric poetry, Bana’s royal biography The Deeds of King Harsha, the animal tales of the Panchatantra and the Buddhist Jataka, and theoretical works on the language of poetry (The Illumination of Suggestion) and on aesthetic experience (Bharata’s Treatise on Drama). The readings are in translation. No knowledge of Indian languages is assumed. Instructor consent required. Limited to 20 students. Not open to first-year students. Fall semester. Five College Professor I. Peterson.