Posted on: 23 September 2016

Digital Rare Book:
The Harsa-Carita of Bana
Translated by Edward Byles Cowell and F.W.Thomas
Printed and Published under the patronage of The Royal Asiatic Society, London - 1897

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Book Extract :

The great merit of the Harsa-carita consists in the fact that it is a very early attempt at an historical romance. Bana's other work, the Kadambarl, and Subandhu's Vasavadatta deal with mythological fiction, and everything is viewed through a highly poetical atmosphere; and the Dasa-kumara-carita is equally based on pure imagination, although its characters, as in the picaresco literature of modern Europe, are the exaggerated pictures of the vulgar rogues and ruffians of every great city. But the author of the Harsa-carita has taken his own sovereign as his hero and has woven the story out of the actual events of his reign.The narrative can be often illustrated by contemporary inscriptions, in fact it is as much based on real events as Scott's Quentin Durward or Waverley. This gives to it a peculiar character which distinguishes it from all other works of Sanskrit literature. In studying any other classical Sanskrit writing we are generally obliged to infer the date of its composition by a careful examination of the accidental allusions or the peculiar words and phrases which it may contain, or by tracing the earliest quotations from it in subsequent authors ; it is the special interest of the Harsa-carita that it treats of a period, which happens to be almost as familiar to the student of Indian history as the reign of any of the early Muhammadan monarchs of Northern India.

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