Medieval Poetics: Europe and India
This is a comparative course on medieval stylistic practices, formal innovations, and especially theories of form. Our common ground will be the theories that were generated in learned and pedagogical traditions of medieval literary cultures of Europe and pre-modern India (with their roots in ancient thought about poetic form). We will also collaborate on the particulars of the vernacular cultures that stamped their interests on the interplay of language, genre, and form. Questions common to all the literary traditions may be the social, ethical, and epistemological roles of poetry. Other common questions include the distinctively medieval terms of interpretive theory and practice; technologies of interpretation; theories of fiction; the histories of the language arts; transformations of the terminology of figurative language; grammatical orthopraxis and permitted “deviation”; and material texts. As we turn from interpretive to generative categories, we will consider how arts of poetry find their linguistic and stylistic focus in the vocabularies of individual vernacular traditions.