ANS 384 • Indian Aesthetics
4:00 PM-7:00 PM
Longstanding traditions of poetry and drama in Sanskrit become colonized by philosophers with distinct theories of self language, and reality. This course approaches the sophisticated aesthetice of late classical Indian thought from an overview of the philisophic schools, Vedanta, Samkhya, Mimamsa, Nyaya, Bauddha Yogacara, and Tantra (Kashmiri Saivism) in particular. Philosophy of language will be our special focus at the beginning, along with epistemology (testimony taken to be a source of knowledge provides key context for linguistic theorizing). Aestheticians seem obsessed with the question of the semantic value of suggestion beyond both denotation and (by philosophers and grammarians a well-explored) indication or secondary sense. In the second part of the course, we shall move away from philosophy of language and take up the theory of emotions (BHAVA) and aesthetic responses (RASA) that is interwoven with linguistic theory in late texts. We shall see how different metaphysical views tie in with a psychology of the aesthete including the laying out of a new yoga or path to mystical experience. (Make your life art.) The objectivity of the RASA theory will be of special concern, as we see how it is shaped by a philosophic heritage. But acheiving an overview of that heritage will be our main point. The course is an introduction to Indian philosophy as well as to the rich aesthetic literature of late classical Indian thought.
A short paper informing a long paper and a class presentation.
A collection of photocopies and two or three translations of key works such as the Natyasastra (Treatise on Dramatics) or Abhinavas commentary on Dhvanyaloka (Illumination of Poetic Suggestion) to be announced.