The earliest Indian literary histories

Ulrich T. Kragh utkragh at HUM.KU.DK
Sun Aug 19 20:24:00 UTC 2012

Dear Indology List members,
I am trying to identify the earliest literary histories of Indian literature, in particular the nineteenth-century publications. By "literary history," I mean a history that either attempts to cover Indian literature as a whole or within a particular language, e.g., Sanskrit literature. I do not mean publications that deal exclusively with merely a single or just a few Indian works, since what I am interested in is the writing of broader literary histories per se.

So far, my list includes F. Max Müller's "The History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature" (1859, though limited to Vedic literature), Robert Watson Frazer's "A Literary History of India" (1898), and Arthur A. MacDonell's "A History of Sanskrit Literature" (1899). In his preface, MacDonell refers to Weber's "Academical Lectures on Indian Literature" (1852-1878) (I haven't yet looked up the original German title, as MacDonell refers only to the book's English translation) and L. von Schroeder's "Indiens Literatur und Kunst" (1887).

I would like to know whether there is any other early Indian literary history that I have overlooked, and I would also like to know what the first Indian literary history written by an indigenous Indian author is. If by any chance, the history of Indian literary histories has been described in any scholarly publication, I would also be thankful for the bibliographical reference to such a study.

With best regards,

Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh
Research Fellow
International Institute for Asian Studies
Leiden University, the Netherlands

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