Guide to the Research Collections

- Section -- II: -- THE HUMANITIES
- PART TWO
- 26 -- LITERATURES OF AFRICA, THE NEAR EAST, AND THE FAR EAST
- INDIC LITERATURES

INDIC LITERATURES

Sanskrit Literature

The collecting policy is representative for Sanskrit literature. Many of the epics, dramas, and fables in Sanskrit are contained in the library's rich holdings of some 720 volumes. Epics number approximately 400 volumes, with numerous editions of the Mah[amacr ]bh[amacr ]rata and the R[amacr ]m[amacr ]yana both in Sanskrit and in translation. The drama holdings, 120 volumes, feature many editions of K[amacr ]lid[amacr ]sa's Sakuntala. Somadeva's Kath[amacr ]sarit-s[amacr ]gara (Ocean of Story), both in the original and in the Tawney translation of 1924-28, is among some 200 volumes in the Sanskrit fiction section. There are also editions of Pa&nmacr;catantra (Five Chapters on Wisdom) and the Hitopadesa (Good Counsel). The Spencer Collection has fine illustrated editions of Sanskrit fables. Some of the 13 manuscripts in Sanskrit in the Manuscripts and Archives Division contain verse; all of these are Indian, and they date from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century.

Modern Indian Literature

Before 1950 few libraries in the United States had extensive material in the modern Indic languages. Since that time the library has acquired Hindi, Urdu, Gujarati, Tamil, and Marathi publications. The collecting policy is selective. There are approximately 600 volumes related to Hindic languages and literature, and some 1,400 volumes related to the modern languages of India, Pakistan, and Ceylon. The great backlog of materials acquired under the PL-480 Program must also be taken into consideration: this amounts to more than 14,000 pieces for India and Pakistan, many of them literary in nature.

Of note is a small group of holograph poems in English by Sir Rabindranath Tagore, including a 65-page typescript of "Gitanjali" with corrections in the hand of W. B. Yeats, in the Berg Collection.