Indian Kavya Literature is planned in eight volumes as a comprehensive study of literature (kavya) in the literary criticism of that same tradition. Surprising as it may seem, Indian literature has not till now been presented from this obvious, natural and necessary point of view in any modern language, except in a limited and primarily bibliographical manner by Krishnamachariar 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, 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 where by 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.
A.K. Warder, Prof. Emeritus of Sanskrit in the Univ. of Toronto, is an old fashioned philologist who reads the primary sources in Sanskrit and the Prakrits.
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