A History of Indian Literature. Vol. I. by By M. Winternitz.Translated by Mrs. S. Ketkar (and Miss H. PDF

By By M. Winternitz.Translated by Mrs. S. Ketkar (and Miss H. Kohn), and revised by the author.

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INTRODUCTION 31 T H E A R T OF W R I T I N G AND THE TRANSMISSION OF INDIAN LITERATURE. The inscriptions are of such great significance for us because they also give us information on the question which is certainly not unimportant for Indian literary history, namely, the question regarding the age of the art of writing in India. As we shall soon see, the history of Indian literature does not by any means begin with the written literature, and it is not actual writings, but only orally transmitted texts which belong to the oldest periods of Indian literary history.

The surest mark of differentiation for this relative chronology still lies in the language. Less reliable are pecu­ liarities of style ; for it has often happened in India that later works have imitated the style of an older class of literature, in order to assume an appearance of antiquity. Often, indeed, also the relative chronology is spoiled, because many works of Indian literature, and just those which were the most popular, and therefore are the most important for us, have suffered manifold revisions, and have come to us in various modifica­ tions.

Since the fifth century after C hrist, i n s c r i p t i o n s too begin to give us information about the dates of many writers. I n the deciphering of inscriptions great progress has been made during the last decades. " And it is the inscriptions to which we are not only indebted for the surest dates of Indian literary history, settled up to now, but from which we also hope to get the greater number of solutions of the chronological problems still unsolved at present. INTRODUCTION 31 T H E A R T OF W R I T I N G AND THE TRANSMISSION OF INDIAN LITERATURE.

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A History of Indian Literature. Vol. I. by By M. Winternitz.Translated by Mrs. S. Ketkar (and Miss H. Kohn), and revised by the author.


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