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VVIK Lecture; The How and Why of Sanskrit Poetry and My Sanskrit Poetic Contributions

  • Madhav Deshpande (University Michigan)
Thursday 29 November 2018
Lecture series Society of Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK)
P.N. van Eyckhof 3

Room 5

We are pleased to announce the next Friends of the Kern Institute lecture:

The How and Why of Sanskrit Poetry and My Sanskrit Poetic Contributions

by Madhav Deshpande (University of Michigan)

Thursday 29th November 2018, 16.00h—17.30h


Time: 16.00h—17.30h, drinks afterwards

Place: Leiden University, P.N. van Eyckhof 3, room 5


The How and Why of Sanskrit Poetry and My Sanskrit Poetic Contributions

In my presentation, I will review the notions of the purposes for which Sanskrit poetry was composed (prayojana) and the causes that promote the creation of poetry (hetu) as they are discussed by the 11th century theorist Mammaa in his Kāvyaprakāśa, “Light of Poetry”. Before discussing Mammaa’s ideas, I will briefly talk about Vedic poetry, the origin of Sanskrit drama as described by Bharata, and the story of the origin of Rāmāyaa. I will discuss how these notions in Sanskrit poetics help us understand the wide variety of Sanskrit poetry, and especially the indigenous approaches to this variety. I will then briefly describe my own development as a Sanskrit poet, and discuss some samples of my Sanskrit poetic compositions.

Madhav Deshpande
Professor Madhav M. Deshpande was born in Pune, India, in 1946. In the high school matriculation examination in the State of Maharashtra, he won the coveted Jagannath Shankarshet Sanskrit Scholarship. For his undergraduate education in Sanskrit, Pali and Philosophy, Deshpande joined the Fergusson College, and received his B.A. degree in 1966, and his M.A. degree in 1968 from the University of Pune. All through this period, he also studied Sanskrit Shastras at the Tilak Maharashtra Vidyapeeth in Pune. In 1968, Deshpande joined the Department of Oriental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, for his doctoral studies, and received his Ph.D. degree in Sanskrit/ Linguistics in 1972. That same year, he was appointed Professor of Sanskrit and Linguistics at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. He continues teaching at Michigan till present. His research interests include Sanskrit and Indo-Aryan Linguistics and Sociolinguistics, the Sanskrit grammatical tradition, and Indian religions and philosophy. He has published about fifteen research books and over two hundred research articles. 

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