Whitney Cox wmcox at UCHICAGO.EDU
Tue May 1 12:50:49 UTC 2007

Dear Matthew,

While I don't have any suggestion for the earliest use of 
pratiika as a possible calque for allegory, I do know (from 
a conversation with Aditya Behl a year or so ago) that the 
term is used more widely in Hindi literary criticism to 
describe, for instance, the similarly 'allegorical' 
dimensions of the Sufi premaakhyaans. 

As for a local theory of allegory, I have one suggestion.  
It was a few years ago, but I remember that in "Sivaraama's 
commentary on the Naagaananda (edited by T. Ganapati Sastri, 
Trivandrum Sanskrit Series no. 59), he consistently referred 
to the second, 'allegorical' dimension to the plot under the 
rubric of 'garbhokti'.  

I don't recall how systematic "Sivaraama was in applying 
this, nor incidentally do I know any details of his time or 
place (though I presume he may have been from Kerala, given 
that he also commented on the plays of Kula"sekharavarman, 
which were I believe works of strictly local circulation).  
I've never seen this rubric used in any work on dramaturgy 
or ala.mkaara---though other list members certainly may have-
--but at least it might be a place to start.



---- Original message ----
>Date: Tue, 1 May 2007 05:58:31 -0500
>From: mkapstei at UCHICAGO.EDU  
>Subject: pratiika/allegory  
>In current Indian writing on Sanskrit drama,
>the term pratiika-naa.taka is sometimes used for
>allegorical dramas in the tradition of the
>Prabodhacandrodaya of K.r.s.namizra, e.g.,
>Suuryasa.mkalpodaya, Caitanyacandrodaya, Am.rtodaya,
>etc. But just when and where is this term
>pratiika-naa.taka first used? Is it, in fact, 
>a modern coinage based on Eng. "allegorical drama"?
>Even if the term is of recent origin, was there ever
>another way of theorizing "allegory" in traditional
>dramaturgy and poetics? (In esoteric religious materials,
>of course, we find such notions as niguu.dhaartha applied 
>allegorical readings of tantric texts and the like, but
>I am not interested in that sort of thing here, unless
>a direct link to notions of literary allegory seems likely.)
>Of course, as has been widely noted, the practice of
>allegorical writing in India can be found as early as
>some hymns of the .rg-veda. However, I am not interested 
>in texts that, as a matter of fact, are allegorical or
>have been treated as allegorical (e.g., Za.nkara's reading 
>Arjuna's grief at the opening of BhG). My question concerns
>just the conceptualization and theorization of "allegory."
>With thanks for your houghts about this.
>Matthew T. Kapstein
>Numata Visiting Professor of Buddhist Studies
>The University of Chicago Divinity School
>Directeur d'études
>Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list