No Sanskrit poet is more interesting, original, or greater than Bana. His prose poem Princess Kadámbari is his supreme achievement. His patron, King Harsha, ruled much of northern India from 606 to 647 CE from his capital at Kannauj. Princess Kadámbari, a work of fiction set in keenly observed royal courts, has everything. A love story doubled and redoubled in rebirth, the romance was so influential that its title became the word for a novel in some modern Indian languages. In free form verse, the experimental poem embodies enormous originality. Animals, flowers and mythology, as well as humans are presented in sympathetic detail. The complex coherent structure will culminate in a breathtaking conclusion. The two love affairs that dominate the poem have not yet begun in this first volume, where we hear of rituals to obtain a son, and the upbringing of a prince. Altogether the reader is given perhaps the fullest presentation of classical India available in a single work.
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