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De Costa, P. (1949) The imagery of Kalidasa and the theory of poetics. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The examination of the works of Kalidasa here undertaken makes an essential departure from the hitherto existing approach to the subject in two directions. There being no comprehensive and intensive inquiry into the poetic and dramatic art and technique of the poet, an attempt has therefore been made to confine ourselves, firstly, to a strictly literary appraisal of the poems and dramas. The data gathered from this study leads us on to the second aspect of our investigation where the evidence bearing on the mutual relation between Kalidasa's literary art and the theory of poetics is examined. In our internal literary estimate the works have been scrutinised from to points of view which form the basic criteria in the oanskrit theory of poetics. (i) The poet's imagery has been classified and the most important image patterns deuduced therefrom. (ii) The works are analysed from the standpoint of rasa, formulated in dramatic theory before Kalidasa and accepted as a general literary principle in the later theory of poetics. One important fact which emerges from the above survey is the poet's vivification of nature in his image processes - a principle deriving from Indian philosophical thought- and another is tile conception of love which appears as human and realistic though operating within the divine and semi-divine framework of the narrative. Wherever it has been founa necesanry reference has been made to antecedent image-processes that enable us to study the historical development of better-patterned forms from early times to the days of Kalidasa. Asmaghosa's influence on Kalidasa with regard to rhyme and assonance as well as the contrasting features of the sound patterns of Bhavabhuti and Kalidasa have been briefly discussed preparatory to the detailed survey of the poetic-drama-tic technique of Bhavabuti in comparison with that of Kalidasa. This has not only helped to elucidate the fundamental differences and similarities of their literary art and style but thrown some valuable light on Kalidasa's place in the general evolution of Sanskrit kavya, Brom this point we have proceeded to examine the extent of the influence of dramatic theory on Kalidasa's dramatic technique, testifying to his awareness of Bharata's conception of rasa. Being the earliest dramatist to refer to it, Kalidasa forms an important link between theory and practice, the interrelation of which has been examined in some detail with particular reference to the contribution he has made in furnishing data for the clarification and exemplification of poetical theory in succeeding schools and notably in Anandaverdhana's school of dhvani. As far as the literary evidence permits we have found, it possible to deduce the purpose and function of poetry as it appears to Kalidasa which is diametrically opposite to the conception of Asvaghosa and is accepted only partially by Bhavabhuti. The comparative study of the poet and Bhavabhuti and certain data from the more mature works, as for example, the Meghaduta and the Vikramorvasiya, have also enabled us to arrive at plausible views on his life and character as a poet.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:20

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