Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Vol 4
- Author: Indra Nath Choudhuri
- Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
This volume of the Encyclopaedia covers a wide range of entries on books and authors, besides studies in some major literary genres, movements and trends genres (or sub-genres) like Novel, Prose, Poetry, Poetics and Prosody: movements like Realism, Renaissance and Romanticism: trends like Patriotism and Progressivism. A general topic like Printing and Publishing, a sub-form of literature like Pen-Portraits, and philosophical systems like Nyaya and Samkhya also appear in the volume. Broad surveys of genres or pointed studies of movements, trends and schools of thought have been retained even at the risk of a certain overlapping of material found in entries on books and authors, since they offer a historical and literary perspective for the broad spectrum of Indian literature covering some 4000 years of growth and development. A certain degree of repetition, it was felt, could do little harm in a reference work of this nature meant as much for non—specialised readers as for the educated and scholarly ones. A cultural tradition like ours, so rich and varied and yet with an essential unity at the core, is indeed ‘a collaboratively sustained reality’, to borrow a phrase from F.R. Leavis, in the way exemplified by our languages.
This Encyclopaedia is the first serious attempt of its kind in the country which aims at providing the reader, within the compass of some five volumes, a perception of Indian literature in twenty-five languages, including Pali, Prakrit and Apabhramsha languages no longer in use. A work of this magnitude, undertaken for the first time, involves many limitations of which we are fully conscious, though we would not like to make them an excuse for our weaknesses. Since the publication of the first volume of the Encyclopaedia in 1987, we have received a good deal of feedback from various quarters, some of it balanced and sympathetic, some sharply critical of the deficiencies. We are grateful for all sensitive review of the work and would bear it in mind while revising and updating the volumes in the next edition. In fact, in this volume itself we have tried to organise the material with greater precision and accuracy, reducing details to coherent order, though without infringing too far on the basic character of the entries.