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Charming bouquet or wedding garland? The structures of the Jain heroine ‘novel’ in Prakrit From Kuvalayamālā (779) to Maṇoramā (1082)

Christine Chojnacki

Abstract

It is undisputed that Bāṇa’s Kādambarī has marked a turning point in the history of Indian literature not only because it introduced an elegant prose form into the kāvya style, but also because it evinced a unitary and complex plot that was a complete innovation as compared to the juxtaposed structure of contemporary works like Daṇḍin’s Daśakumāracarita. As a much admired work, Kādambarī is known to have influenced many poets and playwrights in the following centuries throughout India. However, it is often ignored that with its romantic themes and narrative structures Bāṇa’s work has also inspired several Jain ‘novels’ named after a heroine in various forms and languages from the eighth to the eleventh century. The aim of the following paper is to concentrate on the Jain heroine ‘novels’ in Prakrit and to examine which aesthetic or religious reasons motivated the Jain monk-poets, to begin with Uddyotana, to deviate from the usual structure of a long Jain narrative, such as Haribhadra’s Samarāiccakahā, and to adopt for their heroine ‘novels’ in Prakrit a difficult and totally new model of narration.

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Published Online: 2016-6-11
Published in Print: 2016-5-1

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