The Samvatsar Lectures are given every year as part of the Sahitya Akademi's Festival of Letters. The Samvatsar Lectures for 1991, printed in this volume, were given by Govind Vinayak Karandikar (b. 1918), popularly known as Vinda Karandikar, a distinguished Marathi poet, essayist, critic, translator and recepient of numerous awards including the Asan Prize and the Soviet Land Nehru Award. Vinda, who is now seventy-three, presents in his first lecture his views on what he considers as being the most significant aspect of creative literature. He designates it as a 'vital art'. In the second lecture, he turns to drama as a performing art and the cinema, and discusses them as vital arts or as 'comrades' involved in a similar pursuit. He finally distinguishes the group of vital arts from the aesthetic arts and practical arts.
His originality and the radical character of his thinking are evident in these lectures. He evolves a new classification of the arts, and there is, consequently, a change in their value and priority; this indicates the direction towards a new aesthetics.
The Executive Board of the Sahiya Akademi passed a
resolution on 24 February 1985 accepting the recommenda-
tions of the Committee set up for the establishment of a
series of lectures in literary criticism called the Samvatsar
Lectures. A procedure was prescribed by the Board for the
selection of the annual Samvatsar lectures. The Samvatsar
lecturer is expected to deliver two or three lectures on a
theme chosen by him. It has also been laid down that these
Samvatsar lectures would be published after they are
delivered. The crucial clauses in the resolution relating to
the Samvatsar Lectures read as follows:
These lectures should reflect a deep concern for values.
They should open up new vistas of thinking regarding a
literary movement, a current literary trend, some original
thinking about a great classic or a new path in literary
criticism or literary creation, etc. The presentation should
be from a larger perspective while the subject matter could
be drawn from the regional or comparative sources within
the speaker's experience.
I have great pleasure in writing this brief foreword.
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