Timothy Cahill

in Hinduism

ISBN: 9780195399318
Published online January 2011 | | DOI:


“Kāvya” is a Sanskrit term used to designate poetry variously characterized as classical, ornate, courtly, or stylized. To be sure, kavya usually involves erudition and elegance, but a poet (kavi) might equally spurn the many available conventions to create a work for simpler tastes. India’s critics debated how to define kavya for over a millennium. Its simplest formulation is sound and sense combined, or “the output of poets.” However, connoisseurs have long understood it as something more elegant, more crafted than gnomic, didactic, or narrative versification—so much so that the prestige of kavya extended even to those who wrote technical treatises in the exact sciences. This article covers works in Sanskrit with brief references to the related literatures in the Prākrits, old Tamil, Apabhraṃśa, and the various literary precursors to India’s modern languages.

Article.  10183 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »