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  • The Forms of Prakrit Literature

    Andrew Ollett

    Chapter from the book: Ollett, A. 2017. Language of the Snakes: Prakrit, Sanskrit, and the Language Order of Premodern India.

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    What was Prakrit like? This chapter formulates the phenomenology and aesthetics of this language by analyzing three qualities that readers consistently noted in connection with Prakrit literature: the “sweet syllables” that gave it a distinctive aural texture and musicality, the “quavering verses” that gave it a distinctive rhythm, and the “unbound” character of its verses, which required distinctive reading practices to give them meaning, and which made every Prakrit verse a potential intertext for every other. These qualities can be analyzed in specific formal terms, but they can also be linked to historical developments, and some of those developments—like “Prakritization,” imbuing a text with the formal characteristics of the Prakrit language—could help us better understand the context of Prakrit’s emergence as a literary language.

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    Ollett, A. 2017. The Forms of Prakrit Literature. In: Ollett, A, Language of the Snakes. California: University of California Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.37.d
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    Published on Oct. 10, 2017

    DOI
    https://doi.org/10.1525/luminos.37.d


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