Visvanatha Kavlraja's popularity has been unquestionable in both the history and practice of Sanskrit poetics over centuries despite some adverse remarks on the originality of his theoretical exercise. The present work attempts at offering a comprehensive account of Visvanatha's treatment of poetry in its theoretical perspectives and presents the historical data as regards Visvanatha's time, location and works both extant and lost, surveys the developments of Sanskrit poetics from the earliest times till Visvanatha's entry, and discusses different topics Visvanatha considered relevant for a complete examination and assessment of the subject matter he deals with such as the definition, structure and end of poetry.
Ananta Charan Sukla, M.A. (English), M.A. (Philosophy), Ph.D., Sahityacharya (Sanskrit) is an eminent philosopher of art, religion and language. He is a comparative literary scholar of international repute and the founder editor of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics (inception 1978) the official organ of Visvanatha Kaviraja Institute of which he is the founder Director (1977). Sukla's numerous publications include The Concept of Imitation in Greek and Indian Aesthetics (1977), Art and Representation (2001), Art and Experience (2003), Art and Essence (with Stephen Davies, 2003), and Estetica Indiana Contemporanea (1996). His forthcoming publication Art and Expression awaits release this year.
Visvanatha Kaviraja, has remained almost the most popular name in the history of Sanskrit poetics for his comprehensive presentation of the subject matter. The question of his originality as a theorist has been an issue of critical debate warranting an appropriate assessment long since. When I was contemplating on this issue Sahitya Akademi assigned me the responsibility of writing a monograph on Kaviraja for its Makers of Indian Literature series. The assignement expedited my critical exercise resulting finally in the present text. I express my deepest gratitude for the authorities of the Akademi, the learned memebers of its Advisory Board of Sanskrit for this assignment, and thank the officials Mr. Srinivasarao (Deputy Secretary) and Manjeet Bhatia working with me for the timely publicaiton of this text.
My son Chunnilal (Ambika Nrusinha), a senior engineer at Morgan Stanley, New York provided me with the necessary material, as he does regularly for all my researches. Dr. K.C. Dash, my friend and pupil, a senior Sanskrit scholar in the Orissa Education Service. discussed with me several critical points, my wife Indulata, formely a professor of mathematics at Sambalpur University, my second son Chamanlal and daughter-in-law Chabi assisted me in proof correction. I wish all of them a happy future.
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