Thursday, May 21, 2009

Geography of Literatures

An interesting tool for the understanding and appraisal of geography (both real and imagined) as playing a role within a nation's literature and philosophy has been recently published in Italy. It focuses on geography within German culture and describes both the impact of authors' backgrounds and that of their favourite destinations and utopias (including India, in an essay which is unfortunately full of typos). Could something like that be even thought of in case of Sanskrit culture? 
On the one hand, one could start consider the idea of whether there are similarities in being, say, a Kaśmīri author (or an Indonesian one, to make it more striking) instead of a Tamili one.
On the other, one could start collecting information about rivers, sanctuaries, cities and their ritual/symbolical significance.
Thirdly, one could start considering the hypothesis of reconstructing a cultural milieu (something like that has been attempted in Oxford, may 2008, during a conference on Vāraṇasi in xvii-xviii centuries).

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