South Asia Seminar: "The Way of the Poet-King: Two Authors, Two Models, Two Languages"

Andrew Ollett, University of Chicago, SALC, Visiting faculty member; Harvard University, Society of Fellows, Post-Doc
Sarah Pierce Taylor, Associate, COSAS

The Way of the Poet-King (Kavirājamārgaṁ), composed around 870, has a strong claim to being the earliest Kannada text to survive in manuscript form, and arguably did more than any other text to establish this “regional language” of South India as a literary idiom more or less on par with Sanskrit. The Way can be characterized, fairly, as a project of the Imperial Rāṣṭrakūṭa court, as a transcreation of an important work of poetics in Sanskrit, namely Daṇḍin’s Mirror of Poetry (Kāvyādarśa), and as a watershed moment in the history of Kannada literature. Our talk will take another look at these three aspects of the Way, but we will emphasize the “twos” that make each of them more complex: its two authors (Śrīvijaya and Nr̥patuṅga), the two works of poetics that served as its primary models (Daṇḍin’s Mirror and Bhāmaha’s Ornament), and the two languages whose relationship to each other is one of the text’s primary concerns (Sanskrit and Kannada).

Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 5:00pm
Foster 103