Eberhard Guhe
"Elusand.slakuna", an Ancient Sinhala Treatise on Metrics

WHEN: Monday, March 14th, 5:30pm
WHERE: Margaret Jacks Hall, Greenberg Room (460-126)
WEB: http://www.stanford.edu/dept/linguistics/poetics/

"Elusand.slakuna", a Sinhala treatise dating from the 13th century, was
written by the Sri Lankan Theravada monk Bhadra in order to outline in a
partly descriptive and partly prescriptive manner the rules of classical
Sinhala metrics. The work is still very familiar to erudite Sri Lankan
Theravada monks and there are a few mostly non-critical editions and
modern commentaries in Sinhala, but no translation into a western language
on the basis of a scholarly edition has been undertaken so far.
In my talk I am going to provide a survey of the contents of
"Elusand.slakuna". Moreover, the differences between Bhadra's metrical
system and its predecessors in Sanskrit and Prakrit metrics will be
pointed out. One of the distinguishing characteristics of
"Elusand.slakuna" is the occurrence of stylistic devices in the
definitions of certain metres, such as duplications of syllables at the
beginning of a verse line as a means to give special emphasis to this
position. A syllable may also be duplicated intermediate between
half-lines in order to admit smooth transitions between them. Different
types of rhyme are applied to reinforce the periodicity of rather broadly
defined metres. These interactions of stylistic and metrical features have
no earlier counterpart in Sanskrit or Prakrit prosody, which was
independent from the theory of embellishments ("alamkara").