Reading Jalhaṇa Reading Bilhaṇa Literary Criticism in a Sanskrit Anthology

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Whitney Cox



The Sūktimuktāvalī, an anthology compiled in 1258 CE, is by far the most important source of testimonia for Bilhaṇa’s biographical mahākāvya, the Vikramāṅkadevacarita, composed ca. 1085. While the anthology’s value for the primary textual criticism of the kāvya is limited, its value for its interpretation is considerable: Bilhaṇa is the anthology’s most frequently cited poet, and its selection of his verses amounts to a reading of the poem as a whole. The recovery of this interpretation also provides the opportunity to consider the anthology’s complex authorship and to situate it within the late medieval literary cultural history of western India.

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