Three Satires

403 pages

February, 2005

ISBN: 9780814788141

Subjects:

Literature

Part of the Clay Sanskrit Library series

Authors

All books by Nila kantha

All books by Kshemendra

All books by Bhallata

All books by Somadeva Vasudeva

The Dark Age Ridiculed, by Níla·kantha, Beguiling Artistry, by Ksheméndra, The Hundred Allegories, by Bhállata

Written over a period of nearly a thousand years, these works show three very different approaches to satire. Níla·kantha gets straight to the point: swindlers prey on stupidity.

The artistry that beguiles Ksheméndra is as varied as human nature and just as fallible. We are off to a gentle start Sanctimonious—really no more than a warm-up among vices—but soon graduate to Greed and Lust. From there it's downhill all the way, as unfaithfulness leads on to fraud, and drunkenness to depravity; deception and quackery bring up the rear. What's this at the very end? Virtue? A late arrival, pale and unconvincing.

This volume presents three Indian satirists with three different strategies: in the ninth century C.E., Bhállata sought vengeance on his boorish new king by producing vicious sarcastic verse, “The Hundred Allegories;” in the eleventh century, Ksheméndra presents himself as a social reformer out to shame the complacent into compliance with Vedic morality; and in the seventeenth century little can redeem the fallen characters Níla·kantha portrays, so his duty is simply to warn about the corruption of every social type.

Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC Foundation

For more on this title and other titles in the Clay Sanskrit series, please visit http://www.claysanskritlibrary.org

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