The present volume, based on my thesis approved for the degree of Ph.D. in Sanskrit by the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, in 1966, attempts, for the first time, a comparative literary evaluation of Subandhu's Vasavadatta and Dandin's Avantisundari (inclusive of the extant Avantisundari and Dasakumaracarita proper). Subandhu, Bana and Dandin are the thee great masters of Sanskrit prose. Subandhu (between 385-465 A.D.) is the first prose writer whose prose kavya, the Vasava-datta, has come down to us escaping the ravages of time, though is developed, elaborate, ornate and pedantic style of writing apposes previous endeavours in the field of poetic and ornamental prose writing, evidence of which is available in earlier inscriptions. After Subandhu, there appears Bana, the court-post of Harsavardhana (606-48 A.D.), on the firmament of Sanskrit prose literature with his two masterpieces, the Harsa-carita and the Kadambari. He avails himself of the literary attainments of his predecessor. The third prose writer, in the historical sequence, is Dandin (second half of the seventh to the first half of the eighth century A.D.). Of this trio of Sanskrit pose, Bana has received greater attention so much so that he has overshadowed both Isis predecessors and successors. No attempt worth the name has yet been made to bring to the fore Abe literary accomplishments of Subandhu; and the present work mil certainly go a long way in rescuing him from unmerited select. Dandin has been studied more as an Alankarika than as a poet, especially in Dr Jaya Shankar Tripathi's book entit-led -Acarya Dandi evam Samskrta KavyaSastra kd Itihasa-Darsana (Allahabad, 1968) and Dr D. K. Gupta's book styled A Critical Study of Dandin and his Works (Delhi, 1970). Dr Gupta, who is also issued a connected account of the social and cultural Mk that prevailed in Dandin's time under the title Society and Culture in the Time of Dandin (Delhi, 1972), views Dandin as a goose writer, too, in Part III (especially in chapters III-IV) of Ibis book mentioned above. The present endeavour will at once be distinguished from the previous ones in so far as it offers not only a comprehensive study of the literary achievements of Dandin but also their comparative evaluation with those of Subandhu. Such a study alone could discover the true literary core of their prose kavyas. A comparative evaluation of their prose kavyas is of prime importance not merely because it unfolds to us their myriad literary talents and application thereof but also because it reveals to as the change that had evolved in literary art and mannerism from the time of Subandhu to that of Dandin. "All higher knowledge", as Max Mulled once remarked, "is gained by comparison, and rests on comparison," a doctrine as true and important in the study of literature as in the study of science.
The edifice of the present study has been raised, for the sake of convenience, on nine chapters. Of them, chapter I relates to the biographical account of Subandhu and Dandin : their age, life, scholarship and native places. While treating of their age, I have endeavoured to come to the conclusion, on the basis of varied evidence, that Subandhu might have flourished bet-ween 385-465 A.D. and lived at the courts of Kumaragupta I (414-55 A.D.) and his son Skandagupta (455-67 A.D.), while Dandin flourished from the second half of the seventh to the first half of the eighth century A.D. and stayed at Kaki at the courts of Paramesvaravarman I (670-95 A.D.) and his son Narasimhavarman II who assumed the title of kalakala and was known as Rajasimha (695-722 A.D.). While no serious attempt has yet been made to settle the date of Subandhu, various dates have been suggested by scholars for Dandin, which have also been taken due note of. Chapter II concerns itself with the works of Subandhu and Dandin. It recovers the total perspective of Dandin's works and solves the vexed question of the three compositions (prabandhas) ascribed to him.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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