This work on Sanskrit literature has been entitled a "New History", not only because the most recent of the earlier books dates as far back as thirty years ago, but primarily because it is the result of a new vision and approach.
The existing works either confine themselves to the classical period or, when they seem to cover the whole span, highlight the Vedic period. In this work, the author has steadily kept an overall balance as his ideal. It is probably the first time that the Epic histories - Ramayana and Mahabharata receive an extended and genuinely literary evaluation in any history of Sanskrit literature.
Throughout, endeavour has been made to see literary evolution as unfolding within the rich, inclusive matrix of a many-faceted life of the spirit. The introductory chapter outlines this organic background where the analytical exploration of the intellect and the creative capacity of the imagination are correctly seen as the obverse and reverse of the medallion that is the genius of the race. And in the further exposition, the subtle interconnection of literature and political, moral and philosophical thought have been steadily kept in mind.
The author believes that, in the Indian tradition the final resolution of the problems of political order, moral living and philosophical understanding was managed by the aesthetic sensibility. His accounts of political, moral and philosophical thoughts, thus, are not merely useful material but intimately relevant to the real understanding of the integrated vision of the many planes of human action, which we see in Valmiki, Vyasa, Kalidass, Bhavabhuti and others.
With about 1200 references, the work meets the most exacting demands of scholarship, while the ideal ever kept in mind has been to secure for this evaluation of literature some measure of literary worth on its own.
About the Author:
Krishna Chaitanya (b. 1918) graduated from the Madras University standing first both in B.A. and M.A. with Biology as his speciality in the former and English Literature in the latter. He has retained this interest in both sciences and humanities in his subsequent career. He is the author of a serial history of science in Malayalam of which two volumes have already appeared; a well-known music critic; member of the Publication Committee of Sangeet Natak Akademi; a well-known art critic; author of several books on Indian painting; member of the International Association of Art Critics, Paris and of the Advisory Committee of the College of Art, New Delhi: Vice-President of the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society; Editor of Roopa Lekha, India's oldest extant art journal; author of several children's books which retell Sanskrit classics; member of the Akhil Bharatiya Sanskrit Sahitya Sammelan; and author of a serial history of world literature of which nine volumes have already appeared in English and five Indian languages. He is at present working on a pentalogy on the philosophy of freedom, of which three volumes have been published. His interdisciplinary studies earned for him an invitation from the Institute of International Education, New York, for a lecture tour of the U.S.A. for six months as a 'Critic of Ideas', and a special award from the Kerala Sahitya Akademi. He has also extensively toured Afghanistan, Thailand, China and Japan and visited several European countries.
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