Yigal BronnerNov 4, 2023
A Lasting Vision
Dandin's Mirror in the World of Asian Letters
Oxford University Press 2023
A Lasting Vision: Dandin's Mirror in the World of Asian Letters (Oxford University Press, 2023) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary volume that introduces a remarkably long-lasting poetic treatise, the Mirror on Literature (Kavyadarsha), whose impact extended far beyond its origins in the south of India in 700 CE. Editor Yigal Bronner does not merely collect distinct, single-authored essays but rather interweaves the voices of the other twenty-four contributors (and his own voice) through chapters that are edited collections in miniature, as typically the subsections are written by different authors who engage with each other's material. This unusual structure comes partly out of the book's treatment of a wide range of languages, regions, and methodologies. Dandin's treatise is in Sanskrit, but understanding it and its history requires Kannada, Pali, Prakrit, Tamil, Sinhala, Burmese, Bengali, and Chinese; it came from India but spread to Sri Lanka, Tibet, Mongolia, Burma, Bengal, Java, Bali, and China; engagement with the text includes both close readings of poetry and attention to theories of poetics, inquiries into direct commentary on the Mirror and investigations of resistance to it. This open-access work, the outcome of a decade's worth of collaboration, is intended to spark a new field--Dandin studies--and to prompt new approaches to the literary traditions across the complex of languages and cultures today known as "Asia."
Malcolm Keating is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Yale-NUS College. His research focuses on Sanskrit works of philosophy in Indian traditions, in the areas of language and epistemology. He is the author of Language, Meaning, and Use in Indian Philosophy (Bloomsbury Press, 2019) and host of the podcast Sutras & Stuff.