ABOUT THE COURSE:
Poetics is the theory of literary forms and devices, and the term is familiar to us mainly through the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s work of the same name. Aristotle’s Poetics is believed to be an incomplete treatise and the work that we have with us today is a systematic attempt to define only one genre, namely the art of tragedy. The treatise explores the various aspects of the genre, providing answers to what goes into the making of a tragedy and how it evokes the right kind of aesthetic response in a spectator. This attempt to systematize the study of poetry or all forms of literary composition is not specific to Greek or western literature but can be found in all literatures worthy of the name. In the Indian literary history, the term poetics in its broadest sense was concerned with two domains of art, namely nāṭya (play which blended drama, music, and dance) and kāvya (poetry and other forms of literary composition). The factors that distinguished nāṭya from kāvya in terms of form as well as content were so discernible that Sanskrit poetics virtually got bifurcated into two streams, namely nāṭyaśāstra and kāvyaśāstra. The nāṭyaśāstra tradition of poetics, as the term denotes, focused primarily on nāṭya or performance of plays on stage with the accompaniment of dance and music; these aspects were technically termed in Sanskrit as āṅgika (pertaining to gestures) vācika (verbal elements) āhārya (make-up and dress) and sāttvika abhinaya (representation of emotions). Kāvyaśāstra, on the other hand, was exclusively concerned with the ontology of kāvya (poetry and literary prose). The proposed course aims to introduce the students to the eight major schools in Indian aesthetics which functioned as the foundation of these two streams of poetics, such as rasa, dhvani, vakrokti, aucitya, alaṅkāra, anumāna, guṇa and doṣa.
INTENDED AUDIENCE: B.A and M.A students of English literature. At present, many universities in India have incorporated Indian literary theory in their syllabus. Some of the major universities in India that offer courses on Indian poetics include JNU, Delhi University, Jadavpur University, EFLU, Central University of Haryana, Kerala University, Calicut University, Madras University, etc.