Manuscript copies of printed books

Whitney Cox wc3 at SOAS.AC.UK
Fri Mar 23 15:13:20 UTC 2012

Dear Emmanuel,

It is not exactly the same thing, but perhaps also of interest: One of the
Śāradā manuscripts of Maheśvarānanda's Mahārthamañjarī which I collated for
the specimen edition in my PhD thesis contained a considerable number of
marginal annotations in a second Śāradā hand.  That same hand, however,
'corrected'  the ms. to bring it in line with the readings of Ganapati
Sastri's 1918 edition of the text in the Trivandrum Sanskrit Series.  Since
he blotted out the original readings, and since the northern and southern
versions of the MM represent two very distinct recensions, this annotator
inadvertently obliterated all of this ms.'s value as an independent
witness, producing a hybrid Northern-Southern (and print-manuscript)
version in the process,



On 23 March 2012 05:26, Dominic Goodall <dominic.goodall at> wrote:

> Dear Emmanuel, dear list,
> I am aware of a couple of manuscript transcriptions of editions of Śaiva
> Sanskrit works that were printed a century or so ago in Grantha script.
> The e-text of the Kriyākramadyotikā of Aghoraśiva, for example, that is
> downloadable from the Muktabodha site records that it was copied from an
> incomplete Devanāgari transcript (kindly furnished by Richard Davis) of the
> Grantha edition of the 1920s.  There is a similarly partial (but still
> huge) Devanāgarī transcription of the Grantha-script edition of the
> Pauṣkaravṛtti of Umāpatiśiva (of which I have somewhere a photocopy thanks
> to the kindness of Juergen Hanneder and Jayandra Soni).
> In these cases too, I suppose, the editions could not be purchased, but
> the desire to have Grantha transcribed into Devanāgarī was probably a
> factor too.
> Dominic Goodall
> École française d'Extrême-Orient
> On 22-Mar-2012, at 9:29 PM, Manu Francis wrote:
> > Dear list,
> >
> > I am currently working on a study of the manuscripts of the
> > Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai (a classical Tamil devotional text, datable maybe
> > to the 7th century) in a joint project of the University of Hamburg
> > and EFEO.
> > So far we have been able to collect copies of 44 palm-leaf manuscripts.
> > Interestingly, two of these manuscripts (and maybe a third one), are
> > each a copy of a different a printed edition of the middle of the 19th
> > century.
> >
> > Do you know of other cases of manuscripts (palm-leaf or paper) being
> > copies of printed books?
> > Is there any bibliographical reference about this practice?
> > One could think that the printed book was out of stock or not
> > available for sale, or even that a manuscript copy was cheaper than
> > buying the printed book.
> > I wonder however if other reasons (ritualistic use of the text,
> > conservatism towards the old form of books) might explain this
> > practice.
> >
> > Thanks for any information.
> >
> > With best wishes.
> >
> > --
> > Emmanuel Francis
> > Researcher, Centre for the Study of Manuscript Culture, Universität
> Hamburg
> > Associate member, Centre d'étude de l'Inde et de l'Asie du Sud
> > (EHESS-CNRS), Paris


Dr. Whitney Cox
Senior Lecturer in Sanskrit
Department of the Languages and Cultures of South Asia,
School of Oriental and African Studies
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG

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