To sketch the history of Classical Sanskrit Literature within the limits of a volume of the Heritage Series would have been impossible but for the decision to allot another volume to the Sanskrit Drama, in which the literature of India attains its highest perfection. It has seemed best also to restrict this review to the period before A.D. 1200, a date conventional indeed, but yet late
enough to include all the great masterpieces of Sanskrit literature. Even within the limit chosen attention has been concentrated on the works of chief merit or reputation, and it has been necessary to avoid any detailed discussion of controversial dates, in order to dwell upon the substance and form of the literature itself. Here again it has only been possible to indicate in outline the salient features of the classical literature, and to suggest some of the many problems affecting its origin and development. The aim of this work will be accomplished if it serves to remind readers of the
richness and variety of the literature of which it treats, and encourages students to extend the field of their reading in Sanskrit.
The literary judgments expressed are based on the assumption that Classical Sanskrit literature is entitled to rank among the great literatures of the world, and that therefore it must be subjected to the same standards as are applied to them. Analogous standards in effect must have influenced the judges of poetry in mediaeval India, for they accord in acclaiming as the first of Sanskrit poets Kalidasa, to whom Western critics without hesitation assign the same rank.
– from the Preface by the author
I. Classical Sanskrit .. .. .. 7
II. The Predecessors of Kalidasa .. ..22
III. Kalidasa .. .. .. ..31
IV. Post-Kalidasan Epic . . . . . . 49
V. Historical Kavya .. .. ..61
VI. The Prose Romance and the Campu .. 70
VII. The Popular Tale .. .. ..89
VIII. The Didactic Fable .. .. .. 102
IX. Lyric and Gnomic Verse .. .. 114
X. Theories of Poetry .. .. .. 129
Index . . . . . . . . . . 145