Tamil Herioc Poetry

K. Kailasapathy

'This epoch in our nation's history is violent but brilliant, short-lived but glorious, convulsive but opulent.'

As trade flourished between South India and the western world, a new age dawned – one marked by the advent of an energetic military class, succession wars, inheritance disputes and a bardic tradition informed by cultural and political advances between the fourth and fifth-century B.C. The ascendancy of the Tamil Heroic Age heralded the era of Tamil Heroic Poetry.

In this acclaimed comparative study, revered Sri Lankan academic and journalist K. Kailasapathy introduces and interprets ancient Tamil poems and notes the stylistic heritage, themes and motifs pervading the oral traditions and time-worn texts. The rationale is layered in its construction, mapping the commercial and social fluxes to the verses of the time. Kailasapathy also draws eloquent comparisons to heroic poetry in other languages – most notably Greek – and meticulously bridges the gaps in studying early Tamil poetry.

A nod to H. M. Chadwick's The Heroic Age, this deeply necessary exploration of our neglected past is an engaging and accessible discourse on one of our most fertile literary ages.

  • Classification : Others
  • Pub Date : MAY 29, 2023
  • Imprint : Hachette India
  • Page Extent : 424
  • Binding : PB
  • ISBN : 9789357311694
  • Price : INR 699

K. Kailasapathy

Born in Malaya, K. Kailasapathy (1933 - 1982) was educated at Victoria Institution, Kuala Lumpur, Jaffna Hindu College and Royal College, Colombo. After graduating from the University of Ceylon, where he obtained first class honours, he was the editor of Thinakaran, a national newspaper, for a few years. In 1961, he became an assistant lecturer at the University of Ceylon, Peradeniya, and after his Master's, he proceeded to the University of Birmingham, where he received a doctorate in 1966. The same year he returned to the University of Ceylon and later moved to the University of Colombo. In 1974, he became the first president of the newly created Jaffna Campus of the University of Ceylon. He played an essential role in building up Jaffna University in its crucial early stages. Between 1977 and 1978, he was a visiting professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in the USA. On his return, he continued as a professor at the University of Jaffna until his untimely death in December 1982. A well-known literary critic and a prolific writer, he has written eighteen books in Tamil and English and numerous papers and articles. He was also an external examiner for doctoral students from many universities abroad.

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