Rasa, the Indian literary theory, and the poststructuralist, the Western literary theory, constitute two important areas of study in literary criticism and literature. This volume tries to define rasa and post-structuralism theories in clear and graphical terms. It focuses on inter-cultural application of these two classical theories. This involves the attempt to apply the Indian literary theory of rasa to canonical English poems including those of the epic stature like Dante’s Divine Comedy and John Milton’s Paradise Lost. It also applies the Western literary theory of poststructuralism, those of Derrida, Lacan and Foucault, to canonical works of Sanskrit poetry like Bharthari’s Srngaraataka, udraka’s Mrcchakatika, Dandin’s Daakumaracarita and Mudraraksasa of Virakhadatta among others.
The comparative study that involves a deep and engrossing study of various situations in the epics and other works, unfolds the uniqueness of the latter. It reveals the similarities in the two theories such as their goal of generation of value, quite realistically. It discusses the distinction in the rasa and post-structuralism formations, such as the idea of communication being one of the important principles of the conceptualization of form and structure of rasa, while the art of communication is not so evolved in poststructuralist.
The structure of the study is planned in a sequential order to enable readers to easily understand the theories and their application. The book is bound to be useful to scholars and students of Indology, particularly Indian literature and literary criticism, and those interested in cross-cultural studies in this field.
Dr. Vandana Rajoriya is Lecturer of English, S.R. Government Polytechnic College, Sagar, M. P. She was selected for the said post through M.P.P.S.C. in the year 2008. She did her PhD from Dr. Han Singh Gour University, Sagar, M. P. in the year 2009. She has had six papers of national repute published in different anthologies. Besides, she has also contributed twenty-seven research papers and articles in the journals of national and international repute. She has attended fifteen national and international seminars, workshops, conferences and training programmers organized by various universities of India. She is author of the books D.H. Lawrence and Psychoanalysis: The Moral Dimension, Serious Timings Beautiful Rhyming (a collection of poems) and Tiny Droplets (A collection of poems).
THIS research study aims at providing scholars of literature and literary criticism a unique outlook. Literary criticism and literature constitute the two sides of a coin. Both are co-related, just like breathing is essential to living and the primary matter to a substantial form. Rasa, the Indian literary theory and poststructuralist, the western literary theory constitute two of the most important areas of study that no volume of this size can suffice without certain degree of simplification. So I’ve not attempted to engage in any prolonged consideration of the major critics. As will be clear from the Introduction, I have concentrated not so much on the major literary figures as on rasa and post-structuralism theories themselves. The account I offer here is an agenda of critical discussion in the aesthetic world. Application of rasa theory, in spite of its dynamic nature, has remained mostly confined to the Indian sub-continent without shedding much light on the international arena, and it is equally true of the post-structuralist theories which have hardly been applied to Indian and other (languages) in general and Sanskrit poetry in particular. So I’ve attempted to expound rasa, and apply this on canonical English poems and epics like Dante’s Divine Comedy, Milton’s Paradise Lost and the like, and post- structuralism, the western literary theory to canonical works of Sanskrit Poetry like Sarngaraataka’ of Bhartrhari, Mrcchakatika’ of udraka, Darsakumaracarita of Dunklin, Mudraraksasa of Viakhadatta, Harsacarita of Banabhatta, Sisupalavadha of Magha and the like.
The advantages of such an approach are many. First of all an attempt has been made to define rasa and post-structuralism theories in clear and graphical terms so as to enable my readers to become aware of such unique literary theories as rasa and post-structuralism. Secondly, inter-cultural application of these theories instead of analyses, gradation, evaluation and judgment in a pedagogical manner is a unique contribution.
Literary critics of the 1990s emphasise that the aim of an aesthetic criticism is to describe the artwork and to infer! draw from the art, the aesthetic that may be generated. Description of various situations in the epics and texts of my choice will certainly enable the appreciative readers/viewers to enjoy the aesthetic called the rasa experience.
A comparative study of the post-structuralism and rasa will indeed unfold the uniqueness of the latter as it dwells on reincarnation of the mystic experience that subsequently follows santa rasa. But artwork here is to infer and enjoy rasa and post-structuralist theories. Appropriate description of the situations in the artwork will enable the readers to infer rasa and post-structuralist theories and enjoy them, no matter whether it is a tragedy or a comedy.
I hope that the chronological development of this study will help my readers to proceed easily through the natural progression of the study. It aims at bringing the East and West, the North and South closer to each other. Of all the literary theories, modern and ancient, eastern and western, rasa stands aloft as a lighthouse that keeps shining and giving out light to a very large area of the ocean guiding the vessels. At the outset, the scope of this study may seem to be of glaring artificiality and high hopes. Indeed, the structure of this study is so planned in a chronological and sequential order that the readers, I hope, will perceive and read through the lines, the things I describe, and enjoy and embrace rasa, the Sanskrit literary theory, as a unique literary theory.
Having declared some of the unique characteristics of this study and certain limitations, I would like to state that there are writers, who have extensively dwelt on rasa and poststructuralist; for further reference the appendices include bibliographies and an index on all major critics and the works of art.
COMPLETION of this thesis is a highly satisfying accolade for me and I find myself rejoicing over this achievement, but credit for this achievement must go to my revered guide Bhavatosh Indra Guru. He is not only an erudite scholar but also a great human being. His ungrudging and invaluable guidance has been instrumental in leading this work to emerge successfully in the present form. It is almost impossible to quantify his help that I received during the last three years. Without his guidance, my thesis would never have been finished in time. Furthermore without his timely help and patience, I could perhaps never have worked on application of poststructuralist on Sanskrit poetry. I extend my profound indebtedness and gratitude to him.
I offer my sincere gratitude to A.K. Awasthi, Head of the Department and Nivedita Maitra, Senior Lecturer in the Department of English and other European Languages, Han Singh Gour University, Sagar (M.P.) and Nisha Indra Guru, Department of English, Government Girls Degree College, Sagar, for their constant inspiration, cooperation and encouragement.
Of the many libraries, where it had been necessary to spend long hours of fascinating exploration, I owe the greatest debt to the Jawaharlal Nehru Library of Han Singh Gour University, Sagar (M.P.). I am deeply grateful to the director and staff for all their willing assistance.
The work thus undertaken and accomplished has made me experience many ups and downs, although I had been putting up with it, but there are some people who have knowingly or unknowingly played a major role in its completion. Here, I acknowledge my indebtedness, from the innermost recess of my heart, to my husband Umakant Rajoriya for having performed various invaluable tasks ranging from the secretarial to the menial. His subtle blend of tolerance and occasional exasperation has been a source of great encouragement as also an ever present warning against the dangers of a consuming interest from becoming an obsession. I am also thankful to my mother-in-law, Sunder Devi Rajoriya, bhabhis Anjani and Rani, Krishnakanti didi and Krishnakant bhaiya for their constant inspiration and moral support rendered by them. It would have been very difficult to finish the task in time had Krishna didi not shouldered the household responsibilities with me. I am grateful to the kids Animesh, Akash, Anshu and Moksha for their love and affection.
My papa, Tulasi Ram Tripathi, plays the role of a guiding spirit behind each and every work that I undertake and accomplish. If I am in this field, it is just because of him. I am extremely thankful to him for being a mentor to me. It is really difficult to find words of gratefulness for my mama, Indira Tripathi, the pillar of my life. How can I express indebtedness to my sisters, Yamini, Meenakshi and Deepika and brother, Ashutosh, who have always been eagerly walking by my side for anything and everything? Yamini’s composure always gave me the strength to keep patience for such a long and strenuous task. Meenu’s spirit never failed in giving me the zest, the killing instinct required to do some real research work. I would also like to thank her for helping me in proofreading. Although it applies to them all, but I would especially like to thank my youngest sister Deepika (Sona) who always eagerly and gladly took the pain of extending a helping hand to me, no matter when and in which form I asked for. Ashutosh’s faith in me and my 100 per cent success rate was, in fact, such a relief in very tough and trying times.
I would like to thank Rameti, who is like an elder daughter to me, for happily taking care not only of my daughter but also me and my family throughout the research work.
I am also thankful to Ratnesh bhaiya for helping me in typing the manuscript.
Finally, the most important thanks here go to my little daughter Marihavi, for giving me the space required to finish the work in time. Although she may not have known what it was about, but she has given me a sense of purpose and nurtured me as only an understanding child can.
Above all I’m grateful to the Almighty whose blessings made the completion of this Thesis possible.
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