Companion Studies to the History of Tamil Literature

Front Cover
BRILL, 1992 - Social Science - 291 pages
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There is a number of problems connected with the study and teaching of any Oriental literature in general and of Tamil literature specifically which have to date been mostly ignored, although they are indispensable for solid knowledge and correct interpretation and understanding of the literature in question. These include problems of authenticity and authorship, of transmission and tradition, writing tools and materials, of relationship of orality to literacy, of Sanskrit to Tamil, the prehistory of Tamil written literature, the numerous texts that have been lost, scholarly lineages and the rediscovery of ancient Tamil literature etc. The book deals with all these problems as well as with some specific Tamil cultural phenomena such as the concept of "threefold Tamil" or the relationship of literature ('marked') to grammar ('marker'), with the derivation of the term "Tamil" and with the history of Tamil literary historiography. It will be indispensable as an introduction to the study of the more than 2000 years of Tamil literary history. By addressing questions which have thus far been almost completely neglected, it has also decisive impact on the interpretative comprehension of Tamil literature and on the teaching of this very rich heritage of verbal art.
  

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Contents

Introduction
1
Periodisation of the development of Tamil
12
Prehistory and protohistory of Tamil
18
Problems of integrity authenticity
33
Problems of dating Absolute and relative
97
The dichotomy of norm ilakkanam
129
The rediscovery of ancient Tamil literature
144
List of lost works
223
The case of Akattiyam Tamil and Sanskrit
235
Scholarly lineages of 19th and 20th centuries
262
Blueprint for a history of Tamil literature
270
Index
277
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Kamil V. Zvelebil obtained his Ph.D. in Classical Indology at Charles University. He is well known as a leading scholar in the field of Dravidian Studies, particularly Tamil linguistics and literature. Apart from many papers, reviews and translations he has written several books on this subject. Publications: "Dravidian Linguistics-An Introduction" (Madras, 1990) "The Irulas of the Blue Mountains" (Syracuse, 1988), and "Two Tamil Folktales" (Paris-Delhi, 1987).