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Sound & Sense: More evidence that I’m right

March 11, 2012

In Sanskrit literature, “sound effects” of the kind I discussed in an earlier post seem to be characteristic not so much of poetry as of the revolutionary prose of Subandhu and his followers: “it is in his prose that, free from metrical constraints, Subandhu systematically explores the potentials of reverberation.”(1)

Of course, Sanskrit literature also names gives names to their meters iconically — e.g., there’s one called śārdūlavikrīḍita, “the play of the tiger,” because apparently it sounds like the play of the tiger,(2) and my prof did a funny little dance the other day to illustrate how the māndakrānta (“slow-advancing”) meter mirrors the hesitant gait of a maiden when she’s going to see her lover for the first time.

I guess you can’t be right about everything.

1. Yigal Bronner  Extreme Poetry: The South Asian Movement of Simultaneous Narration (2010), p. 33,

2. Whatever that sounds like — Ibid., p. 32.  But seriously, go check out Bronner’s book.  It’s flippin’ excellent.

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