Kalidasa: The Recognition of Sakuntala (Study Guide)

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Study Guide for Kalidasa: The Recognition of Sakuntala Source: Kalidasa: The Loom of Time. Penguin Books. Your assignment is to read Abhinjnanasakuntalam (The Recognition of Sakuntala) plus its related notes. Begin by reading the biographical note in the front of the book, the Introduction, Sections I, III, VI, VII, X, and XIII and Appendix III on pp. 320 & 321. There are two kinds of notes in this book. Terms which are used in more than one of the works are explained in alphabetical order in the glossary on pp. 283-305, and other notes on the play appear on pp. 334-339 as well as in footnote. Be sure to use these notes to explain obscure references, etc. The claim that the ancient Athenians invented drama may hold true for the West, but Indian writers argue that theater was highly developed even earlier in Sanskrit. No plays survive from those early times, however, and the dates of Kalidasa, the greatest of the Sanskrit playwright, while much disputed, are clearly centuries later--perhaps a millennium later--than Aeschylus and his fellow tragic writers. Abhijnanasakuntalam and Kalidasa`s other plays were written for a refined court audience. The dialogue of the upper-class characters was delivered in Sanskrit, the classical language, and that of women and commoners in prakrit, the common speech. Despite these lofty origins, Kalidasa`s plays have remained popular. There is no tradition of tragedy in India, and Kalidasa`s plays always have happy endings. In Hinduism, ...

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