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The Lamp and the Jar: Exploration of new horizons in literary criticism

The Lamp and the Jar: Exploration of new horizons in literary criticism
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Item Code: IDE198
Author: Krishna Rayan
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi, Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2002
ISBN: 8126013451
Pages: 265
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.8" X 5.8"
weight of book 440 gms
From the Jacket:

Despite the vigorous Indian-Western interface in cultural studies in recent decades, there have been only a very few memorable expositions of the links developed between Indian literary theory over the ages. One effort in this direction that stands out is Krishna Rayan's series of four full-length studies exploring the inter-relationship between these two bodies of critical speculation - Suggestion and Statement in Poetry (1972), Text and Subtext (1987), The Burning Bush (1988), and Sahitya, a Tehory (1991). These four books are will known and well established, but in addition Krishna Rayan has set out the same theory in various critical journals in India and abroad since 1965, but largely since his return to India in 1981 after a long absence teaching in foreign universities. What gives these scattered essays their unique value is their readability, range and variety matched by a consistent adherence to the Dhvani-suggestion critical approach. These have now been compiled and edited by Krishna Arjunwadkar - himself a distinguished scholar in Sanskrit Poetics - and provide an excitingly varied and stimulating fare to those interested in the theoretical and applied aspects of literary criticism.

 

 

About the Author:

 

Prof. Krishna Rayan taught English Literature in Presidency College, University of Madras, and then in the National Defence Academy, Pune. Subsequently, he was Professor of English in the University of Zambia, Lusaka, and then in Bayero University, Kano, Nigeria. He now lives in retirement in Mumbai.

Prof. Krishna S. Arjunwadkar taught Sanskrit in S.P. College, Pune, the University of Poona, and also Marathi linguistics in the University of Bombay. He was a visiting Professor in the University of British Columbia, Canada in 1973-74. He is a scholar and critic of considerable standing in the field of literary and linguistic studies in both Sanskrit and Marathi. He has written an authoritative exposition of the Sanskrit classic work on poetics, the Kavya-prakasha of Mammata. He has also authored comprehensive works on the history and problems of Marathi grammar.

 

Preface

When Prof Krishna Rayan, whose interest in Sanskrit poetics brought and kept us together as friends for almost four decades, chose me to be the editor of this book, I was amazed, knowing my limitations of equipment in the tradition of Western literary criticism. No doubt I have been reading his comparative and con- structive studies in Western and Sanskrit criticism since his first book, Suggestion and Statement in Poetry, was published, years ago (I972), by The Athlone Press attached to the University of London, and trying to absorb (with little success, though) bits of information about the Western tradition; but I am convinced that my knowledge of this area is next to nothing. It is impossible that Rayan is not aware of it. However, my work (in Marathi) on the other head of comparison, Sanskrit poetics, and the count- less discussions we had on points arising from it, must have prompted him to venture upon the choice he made. Finally I had to rely on his judgment and surrender to his proposal, and am now trying to write a preface to a book which contains my friend's lifetime study of the subject, every line of which has passed un- der my eyes several times convincing me of the quality of the fertile mind in which I was instrumental in sowing the seeds of Sanskrit poetics.

Indeed, the collection of 24 essays by Krishna Rayan in this book, originally spread over several years and published in a number of magazines, provides a background for his earlier books related to this subject and shows a critical mind attacking its target from various angles and bringing out the potential of the basics of Sanskrit poetics in forming a body of tenets for criticism of literature in most of the Indian languages and even those outside of India. It shows how a creative mind can pursue a subject constructively for decades and contribute to its progress and refinement. Krishna Rayan was teach- ing English in the National Defence Academy in Pune when he started his adventure in comparative criticism, persisted in delving into the subject during the long years when he taught in African universities, and devoted his post-retirement years to documenting the results of his study in a systematically planned series of books. Few parallels may be found in the academic community which reflect such insight, persistence, acumen and accountability. The world of literary criti- cism will no doubt feel grateful to Prof Krishna Rayan for placing in their hands the rich harvest of years of careful and intensive cultiva- tron.

The tide of this book, The Lamp and the Jar, has its orgin in the well known analogy Anandavardhana offers to the phenomenon of the suggested sense arising out of the stated one. Rayan himself has explained its multi-pronged significance in an earlier treatise: 'The use of the lamp-jar metaphor as an instrument of reflection in ninth-century Sanskrit criticism yielded several insights into the behaviour of the stated and the suggested components of meaning .... In the first place, the jar was already there, the lamp only revealed it .... The second observed feature of the lamp-jar relationship is that the lamp continues to shine even after the jar has been illuminated. Sanskrit theory makes the point that, strictly speaking, the suggested meaning is appre- hended, despite the apparent simultaneity, after the stated meaning and indeed through it and is governed by it.'

[Suggestion and Statement in Poetry, PP: 55 -5 8 ] I have used the term 'poetics' for the common ground of my contact with Prof Rayan as a broad and conventional rendering of the Sanskrit term kiivya-fiistra. But while 'poetry' stands for a section of literature, 'kiivya' stands for the entire range of 'literature' or belles- letters. Even in the Sanskrit tradition, some authors prefer the term sahitya to kavya, presumably to make their intention cleat; and authors like Kuntaka (10th century A.D.) have made an attempt to justify this preference by a reference to the original sense of the wordsahitya, viz. togetherness. This implies that in poetry (in its broader sense) word and sense must match each other. ( cf Vakrokti-jivita 1. 17) It is a failure on the part of the writer if either of the two elements of poetry is weaker or stronger than the other. Explicitly or implicitly, this relation of words to their sense is regarded as fundamental in all traditions of literary criticism.

I congratulate Prof Krishna Rayan for his valuable services to the world of scholarship and believe that his work will inspire future generations of scholars to take the thread from his writing and keep the study of this promising field progressing.

 

CONTENTS

 

   
Preface v
Acknowledgement viii
1 Rasa-Dhvani and Present-day Literary Theory and Criticism 1
2 Literary Theory and Indian Criticism Practice 14
3 Towards a Rewritten Indian Poetic 30
4 Statement and Suggestion in Modern Theory 40
5 The Competent Reader 48
6 Resistance in Reading 53
7 Laksana - Metaphoric and Metonymic 59
8 Laksana and Deconstruction 66
9 The Object-Emotion Relationship in Indian and Western Literary Theories 74
10 Vibhavas or Objects 86
11 The Making of a Theory 94
12 Towards an Indian Critical Tradition for Indian Writing in English 103
13 Indian English Poetry and the Indian Poetic 115
14 The Tendril and the Root - A Study of Jayanta Mehapatra's Relationship 132
15 Suggestion or Statement? - Three Contemporary Cases 143
16 The Other Samskara 156
17 Fear in the Way - A Reading of Murder in the Cathedral 165
18 Rasa-Dhvani in the Plays of Shakespeare 177
19 Bharata Today - An Analysis of a Sinhala Play 189
20 The Development of Indian Literary Theory 197
21 "The Fire Sermon" - A Reading 207
22 Translating Sanskrit Critical Terms 215
23 Suggestion across Asian Literatures 225
24 The Teaching of Literary Theory 243
Index 251

 

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