Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic

Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic

Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic

Sanskrit Poetics as a Study of Aesthetic

Excerpt

In October, 1961, the year of the Centenary of the birth of the great Indian poet and thinker Rabindranath Tagore, a Memorial Lectureship was inaugurated in his honor at the University of Chicago by Sushil Kumar De, Professor emeritus of Sanskrit of the University of Calcutta. I am pleased that persons who did not enjoy the privilege of hearing these lectures, on the subject to which a large part of Dr. De's incredibly productive scholarly life has been devoted, now will be able to share his insight and sensitivity.

To my mind, there could have been no more fitting opening for the Tagore MemoriaI Lectureship. Dr. De is one of the most erudite and wise of India's scholars; his subject is one of importance for those who seek to understand the culture of the Indian subcontinent in its abundant complexity. Nor could there be a more relevant tribute to the name of Rabindranath Tagore than the Lectureship itself. Rabindranath was a man profoundly concerned with all human experience, dedicated to knowledge and beauty. I am certain that he is better honored by fresh offerings of knowledge and by inquiries into beauty than he would be by eulogy. The Lectureship in general and Dr. De's inaugural series in particular constitute an appropriate, continuing remembrance, which has already assisted many in their search for understanding and which will assist many more.

It would be presumptuous of me to try to point out the significance of these lectures to both the study of Sanskrit poetics and our knowledge of the values of a culture so different from our own. Nor need I point out that it is India's foremost scholar in the field of aesthetics who is speaking in these pages. His contributions to his field are well known. But the lectures presented here are, in a sense, unique. They cannot, of course, be divorced from the work which Dr. De has previously done, primarily in his monumental and defin-

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