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Products for grant RQ-255779-17

The Way of the Poet-King: An Edition and Translation of the Earliest Surviving Work of Classical Kannada Literature
Andrew Ollett, Unaffiliated Independent Scholar

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The Way of the Poet-King: Two Authors, Two Models, Two Languages (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: The Way of the Poet-King: Two Authors, Two Models, Two Languages
Author: Sarah Pierce Taylor
Author: Andrew Ollett
Abstract: The Way of the Poet-King (Kavirajamarga?), composed around 870, has a strong claim to be the earliest Kannada text to survive in manuscript form, and arguable 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 product of the Imperial Ra??raku?a court, as a transcreation of an important work of poetics in Sanskrit, namely Da??in’s Mirror of Poetry (Kavyadarsa), 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 (Srivijaya and Nr?patu?ga), the two works of poetics that served as its primary models (Da??in’s Mirror and Bhamaha’s Ornament), and the two languages whose relationship to each other is one of the text’s primary concerns (Sanskrit and Kannada).
Date: 01/25/2018
Conference Name: South Asia Seminar, University of Chicago

When a Sanskrit Fault is a Kannada Virtue (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: When a Sanskrit Fault is a Kannada Virtue
Author: Sarah Pierce Taylor
Abstract: What makes a poetic fault a fault? Inversely, what makes a poetic virtue a virtue? What are the different frameworks of assessment internal to a language that determine such good and bad qualities? When Sanskrit and vernacular languages came into contact, how were these different linguistic frameworks negotiated? As is clear from Sheldon Pollock’s work, S´ri¯vijaya’s ninth-century Kavira¯jama¯rgam?, the first extant text to theorize the Kannada language, is an ideal case study for thinking about the relationship Sanskrit and vernacular languages, in this case Kannada. However, beyond the larger meta-theoretical point about vernacularization, much work remains to be done in clarifying the precise ways in which vernacular languages emerged through and alongside Sanskrit. This paper closely reads S´ri¯vijaya’s Kavira¯jama¯rgam?, paying close attention to the moments of negotiation and adaptation between Sanskrit and Kannada. I focus, in particular, on S´ri¯vijaya’s section on poetic flaws or do¯s?as. Spanning over a hundred verses, this lengthy section of the first chapter delineates poetic faults in relation to various parts of language including mixed Sanskrit and Kannada compounds, meter, and similes among many others. Here we see S´ri¯vijaya artfully incorporate material from both Dan?d?in’s Ka¯vyadars´a and Bha¯maha’s Ka¯vya¯lan?ka¯ra. However, this section is also a moment when S´ri¯vijaya inverts a preexistent Sanskrit rule that metrically violating the caesura (yatibhan?ga) is considered a fault. Following ancient Kannada scholars who “lovingly proposed even faults as virtues,” S´ri¯vijaya renames yatibhan?ga as khanda pra¯sa and states that it is preeminent (atis´aya) (KRM, v. 1.75). This example brings us to the limits of a Sanskrit driven model of vernacularization. If Kannada as a literary language emerged through the lexical invasion of Sanskrit, then there are limits to that encounter such as when a Sanskrit fault becomes a Kannada virtue.
Date: 10/15/2017

High-Density Expressions in the Way of the Poet-King (Article)
Title: High-Density Expressions in the Way of the Poet-King
Author: Andrew Ollett
Abstract: This essay compares Srivijaya’s treatment of the ornament of «condensed expression» in his Way of the Poet-King (Kavirajamarga?), a ninth-century work of poetics in Kannada, to Da??in’s treatment of the same ornament in his Mirror of Literature (Kavyadarsa). What does Srivijaya say, about the poetic possibilities offered by this ornament, and about the relationship between the Sanskrit and Kannada traditions, by reshaping Da??in’s discussion? And how can such literary ornaments, which are often dependent on language-specific strategies, form part of a discourse on literary art that bridges diverse languages and literary traditions?
Year: 2017
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: The website of the publisher of the journal.
Access Model: Subscription only
Format: Journal
Periodical Title: Rivista degli Studi Orientali
Publisher: Fabrizio Serra editore, Pisa/Roma

Taking it back: Poetics across Sanskrit, Prakrit and Kannada (Conference Paper/Presentation)
Title: Taking it back: Poetics across Sanskrit, Prakrit and Kannada
Author: Andrew Ollett
Abstract: “Ornaments,” or “figures of speech,” were the starting point for systematic reflection on literature in South Asia, which came to be known as “the Science of Ornaments.” Among these ornaments, there was one, called “taking it back,” about which there were a number of different opinions regarding its definition and scope. An examination of the attempts to characterize and exemplify “taking it back” during the early period of South Asian poetics—that is, between the sixth and the ninth centuries ce—shows us how that discourse evolved, and in particular, how ideas of literary ornamentation circulated between different languages and literary traditions. This talk will address two well-known works of poetics in Sanskrit, but it will focus on how they ended up connecting two lesser-known works of poetics, one in Prakrit and the other in Kannada, and the traditions that these works represent.
Date: 01/16/2018
Conference Name: Talk at the University of Michigan