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A History of Sanskrit Literature


connected information
about the literature in which the civilisation of
Modern India can
be traced to its sources, and without which that
civilisation cannot
be fully understood. It was, therefore, with the
greatest pleasure
that I accepted Mr. Gosse's invitation to contribute a
volume to this
series of Literatures of the World; for this appeared
to me to be a
peculiarly good opportunity for diffusing information
on a subject
in which more than twenty years of continuous study and
teaching had
instilled into me an ever-deepening interest.
Professor Max Müller's valuable History of Ancient
Sanskrit Literature
is limited in its scope to the Vedic period. It has
long been out of
print; and Vedic research has necessarily made great
strides in the
forty years which have elapsed since its publication.
The only book accessible to the English reader on the
history of
Sanskrit literature in general has hitherto been the
translation
of Professor Weber's Academical Lectures on Indian
Literature,
as delivered nearly half a century ago at Berlin. The
numerous and
often very lengthy notes in this work supply the
results of research
during the next twenty-five years; but as these notes
often modify,
or even cancel, the statements of the unaltered
original text of
1852, the result is bewildering to the student. Much
new light has
been thrown on various branches of Sanskrit literature
since 1878,
when the last notes were added to this translation,
which, moreover,
is not in any way adapted to the wants of the general
reader. The
only work on the subject appealing to the latter is the
late Sir
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