Metatheater and Sanskrit Drama

Metatheater and Sanskrit Drama

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About the Book In 1963, Lionel Abel's book, Metatheatre: A New of Dramatic Form, was published. The basic idea of metatheater is that of multiple layerof illusion. The prefix meta- here, suggets beyond, above &within. Metatheater, in one of its senses, can be viewed as one make-believe (dramatic) world superimposed upon another make-believe (dramatic) world. Or as one dramatic world framed within another dramatic world. The most easily relationship is theplay-within-the-play.


The question might be asked what relevance such a recent topic of literary criticism in the West would have to a study of ancient Sanskrit drama. Each of the six essays in Part One of this book provides an effective answer.


In the sixth essay, a translation is given of the passage in the Abhinavabharati, wherein Abhinavagupta comments on the term of natyayita. Remarkably, this ancient Sanskrit term is most appropriately translated by the freshly minted English word metatheater. And it is through an understanding of this 30-year-old English term (metatheater) that one is able to obtain a revealing insight into what Abhinava was saying one thousand year ago about natyayita term used in the Natya-Sastra, in the section on Sarira Abhinaya, and illustrated by Abhinava with a reference to Subandhu's play, Vasavadatta Natyadhara The first five essays illustrate how profoundly a knowledge of the metadramatic structure of Sanskrit plays will affect the way in which they are to be understood and translated.

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About the Book In 1963, Lionel Abel's book, Metatheatre: A New of Dramatic Form, was published. The basic idea of metatheater is that of multiple layerof illusion. The prefix meta- here, suggets beyond, above &within. Metatheater, in one of its senses, can be viewed as one make-believe (dramatic) world superimposed upon another make-believe (dramatic) world. Or as one dramatic world framed within another dramatic world. The most easily relationship is theplay-within-the-play.


The question might be asked what relevance such a recent topic of literary criticism in the West would have to a study of ancient Sanskrit drama. Each of the six essays in Part One of this book provides an effective answer.


In the sixth essay, a translation is given of the passage in the Abhinavabharati, wherein Abhinavagupta comments on the term of natyayita. Remarkably, this ancient Sanskrit term is most appropriately translated by the freshly minted English word metatheater. And it is through an understanding of this 30-year-old English term (metatheater) that one is able to obtain a revealing insight into what Abhinava was saying one thousand year ago about natyayita term used in the Natya-Sastra, in the section on Sarira Abhinaya, and illustrated by Abhinava with a reference to Subandhu's play, Vasavadatta Natyadhara The first five essays illustrate how profoundly a knowledge of the metadramatic structure of Sanskrit plays will affect the way in which they are to be understood and translated.

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