Sanskrit Poetics through Dandin’s Looking Glass: An Alternative History

Yigal Bronner, Whitney Cox, Andrew Ollett, Lawrence McCrea

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter narrates the history of Sanskrit poetic theory (Alaṅkāraśāstra) from the perspective of Dandin’s Mirror of Literature (Kāvyādarśa). It begins with a brief discussion of Dandin’s predecessors and their potential influence on him. Then follows an analysis of Dandin’s reception in Kashmir, home to a series of theorists who dominated the field of poetics beginning in the eighth century. The heart of the chapter is dedicated to Dandin’s most significant commentator, the tenth-century Sinhalese Buddhist monk Ratnashrijnana. It shows how this commentator responded to and extended fundamental aspects of the Mirror such as its openness and modularity. The chapter also shows Ratnashrijnana as steeped in both the world of Sanskrit court literati and that of the Buddhist community and its literature and values. The chapter concludes by the responses to the Mirror by a host of later medieval and early modern thinkers, most significantly King Bhoja (r. ca. 1010–1055) and Appayya Dikshita (ca. 1520–1592).

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationA Lasting Vision
Subtitle of host publicationDandin’s Mirror in the World of Asian Letters
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)9780197642924
ISBN (Print)9780197642924
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Oxford University Press 2023.


  • Alaṅkāraśāstra
  • Anandavardhana
  • Appayya Dikshita
  • Bhoja
  • Dandin
  • Guṇa
  • Kashmir
  • Kāvyādarśa
  • Ratnashrijnana
  • Sanskrit poetics


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