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Sumanasuriya, K. T. W. (1958) A Critical Edition of the "Kokilasandesaya" With an Introduction. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The Kokilasandesaya is one of the finest classical poems in Sinhalese Literature, and there has been a long-felt need for a good critical edition of the poem. The edition of the work here presented, is a collation of fourteen MSS of dates dates varying from the early eighteenth century to the early nineteenth century. The final text has been restored as nearly as possible to its archetype, but corruptions still do appear of necessity in one or two verses and in one or two prose passages. In noting variant readings, not much attention was paid to orthographical peculiarities. The general behaviour of the Kokila MSS in regard to orthography has been separately discussed with the criticism of MSS. Translations have been made as literal as intelligibility allowed, and the thesis itself makes no claim to literary style. An attempt has been made in the Introduction, in so far a literary appraisal is concerned, to help the reader to a full understanding of the poem. Both political and religious history of this 'dark period' have been worked out, as no modern historian has so far attempted a critical study of his nature. A deep investigation has also been made into special features of development in Sinhalese versification. Metre and Alamkara are discussed in detail as there are no separate treatises dealing with these matters. MSS are described, discussed and grouped into families. Indexes of Proper Names and Mythological Names, and a short glossary of uncommon words are appended. Apart from the restoration of the text by a process of diligent collation of MSS, several other interesting studies have been made and conclusions drawn: (i) The date of the Tisarasandesaya has been finally confirmed and there is now no doubt that this poem was composed during the reign of Parakrama Apa and not t an earlier date or at later date. (ii) The processes by which Parakramanahu VI unified the country have been ascertained, and the vexed question of Sangharajas has been settled. (iii) It has been made clear how the Elu of tans fifteenth century served as a basis for the modern Sinhalese Language. (iv) The fact that the main purpose of a sandesa was to make an occult composition in the nature of a message to be recited in a temple (or at a devalaya) has been brought out for the first time and thus it is possible to establish that occult verification had already begun in the four tenth century. (v) Interalia, the greatness of the poem and the poet have been established beyond all doubt.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:38

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