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Lecture | Friends of the Kern Institute lecture

VVIK lecture by Csaba Dezső

Thursday 21 June 2018
Drinks afterwards
Lecture series Society of Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK)
Matthias de Vrieshof
Matthias de Vrieshof 2
2311 BZ Leiden

A Passage to Dvīpāntara: An Imagined Naval Expedition from Ceylon to Laṅkā

Around 1000 CE Dhanapāla, the court poet of the Paramāra king, composed a prose kāvya, which he named ‘Tilakamañjarī’ after its heroine. This voluminous work contains the description of a fictional naval expedition led by a prince from Siṃhala to take measures against insolent vassals living at Mount Suvela. It is a description that combines the realistic aspects of maritime travel with fantastic adventures. A close reading of the text will show us details that are curiously reminiscent of the culture of the Indonesian archipelago, and will also take us on a guided tour on the island of Laṅkā, an imaginary landscape of memory. We shall also examine Dhanapāla’s text in the context of other (mostly Jain) writings on sea travel, and consider the possible goals (and the attitudes to these goals) of such travel from trade through sightseeing to plunder. 

Csaba Dezső

Csaba Dezső studied Classical Philology, History and Indology at Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest. After finishing his MA-s (Latin Language and Literature, Indology), he went to Oxford in 1998 to study for a PhD under the supervision of Professor Alexis Sanderson. He submitted his doctoral thesis in 2004, a critical edition and annotated translation of Bhaṭṭa Jayanta’s Āgamaambara, a satirical play about religious sects and their relations with the court in Kashmir around 900 CE. He then returned to Budapest and has been teaching Sanskrit since then at the Department of Indo-European Linguistics, Eötvös Loránd University. He has published, among others, first editions of fragments of Sanskrit plays based on codices unici, as well as a new critical edition and English verse translation of Dāmodaragupta’s Kuṭṭanīmata, “The Bawd’s Counsel”, in collaboration with Dominic Goodall. Recently he has been working on the critical edition of Vallabhadeva’s commentary on the Raghuvaśa together with Dominic Goodall, Harunaga Isaacson and Csaba Kiss. Since September 2017 he has been spending his sabbatical year as a researcher at LIAS. 

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