Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic: The Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi

Design and Rhetoric in a Sanskrit Court Epic: The Kiratarjuniya of Bharavi

by Indira Viswanathan Peterson
     
 

Indira Viswanathan Peterson provides an introduction to the Sanskrit court epic (mahaµkaµvya), an important genre in classical Indian poetry, and the first study of a celebrated sixth-century poem, the Kiraµtaµrjuniµya (Arjuna and the Hunter) of Bhaµravi. Sanskrit court epics are shown to be characterized both by formalism and a… See more details below

Overview

Indira Viswanathan Peterson provides an introduction to the Sanskrit court epic (mahaµkaµvya), an important genre in classical Indian poetry, and the first study of a celebrated sixth-century poem, the Kiraµtaµrjuniµya (Arjuna and the Hunter) of Bhaµravi. Sanskrit court epics are shown to be characterized both by formalism and a deep engagement with enduring Indian values.

The Kiraµtaµrjuniµya is the earliest literary treatment of the narrative of the Paµn|d|ava hero Arjuna’s combat with the great god Siva, a seminal episode in the war epic Mahaµbhaµrata. Through a close analysis of the structural strategies of Bhaµravi’s poem, the author illuminates the aesthetic of the mahaµkaµvya genre. Peterson demonstrates that the classical poet uses figurative language, rhetorical devices, and structural design as the primary instruments for advancing his argument, the reconciliation of heroic action, ascetic self-control, social duty, and devotion to God. Her discussion of the Kiraµtaµrjuniµya in relation to its historical setting and to renderings of this epic episode in literary texts and temple sculpture of later periods reveals the existence of complex transactions in Indian civilization between the discourses of heroic epic and court poetry, political ideologies and devotional religion, Sanskrit and the regional languages, and classical and folk traditions. Selections from the Kiraµtaµrjuniµya are presented in poetic translation.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780791456149
Publisher:
State University of New York Press
Publication date:
03/28/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
306
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Indira Viswanathan Peterson is Professor of Asian Studies at Mount Holyoke College. She is the author of Poems to Siva: The Hymns of the Tamil Saints and editor of Indian literature for The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces, Expanded Edition.

Table of Contents

List of Figures

Acknowledgments

1. Introduction: The Study of the Sanskrit Court Epic

2. The Poetics of the Mahakavya

3. The Setting and Structure of the Kiratarjuniya

4. Prelude to Action: Epic Speech in Bharavi's Poem

5. The Debate between the Brothers: Logic, Rhetoric, and Politics in the Court Epic

6. Landscapes with Women: Bharavi's Descriptive Art

7. The Conundrum of the Warrior-Ascetic

8. The Theater of Combat

9. Wrestling with God: Rasa and Bhakti in the Kiratarjuniya

A Note on the Translation Selections

Appendix A. Draupadi Rebukes Yudhisthira: Kir. I. 27-46

Appendix B. The Journey of the Apsaras: Kir. VII. 1-40

Appendix C. Arjuna's Combat with the Hunter: Kir. XVII. 1-64

Appendix D. The Wrestling Match, Theophany, and Boon: Kir. XVIII. 1-19; 42-48

List of Abbreviations

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Index of References to the Kiratarjuniya

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