Design and rhetoric in a Sanskrit court epic: the by Indira Viswanathan Peterson

By Indira Viswanathan Peterson

"Explores the earliest literary therapy of Arjuna's conflict with the nice god Siva, offering an advent to the Sanskrit courtroom epic."

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Extra resources for Design and rhetoric in a Sanskrit court epic: the Kirātārjunīya of Bhāravi

Example text

In a reading of a sequence of epic verses, their primary response is indeed to the figures of speech and the complex structure of the individual stanza; but they also respond to the passage as a whole. Kalid ¯ asa ¯ (4th–5th century) is famous for his similes, and the stanza is the frame of reference of simile as for the other alam ¯ But Kalid ¯ asa ¯ is equally celebrated for the great descrip. karas. 46 A comparison of mahak of the traditional topics reveals them using conventions in structuring the verse-sequence and canto as well as the stanza.

In contrast to the balanced structure of the individual stanza, however, the structure of the mahak ¯ avya’s ¯ verse-sequences is nonlinear and asymmetrical. 54 The contrast holds true for the court epic poet’s compositional technique at the macroscopic level as well. The distinct differences between the structural strategies ¯iya and effects of the descriptions and the speeches in the Kirat ¯ arjun ¯ allow us to speak of two styles of composition in the mahak ¯ avya, ¯ the descriptive and the rhetorical or oratorical.

Job Thomas. Canto XVI. The god and the hero fight with supernatural weapons; Arjuna loses. ´ Canto XVII. Arjuna tries in vain to overcome Siva in combat with ´ the bow and the sword. He throws rocks and treetrunks at Siva. Canto XVIII. A fistfight and a wrestling match between the god ´ and the hero ensue. The combat ends when Arjuna seizes Siva by the feet and tries to throw him. The Great God suddenly reveals his true identity and expresses his pleasure at Arjuna’s exploits. Arjuna praises him in a stotra (hymn) and asks for his grace in the form of a boon that will help the Pan ¯ .

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