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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Gertrude M. Sibley


Western civilization has been influenced by Indian thought in two ways - one through the Greeks, and the other through modern English scholarship. The former has affected us but slightly, being the result of oral interchange, rather than of immediate literary borrowing, - thus passing only indirectly into our system. The latter is reacting upon English literature today in a manner and to an extent which seems not to have been fully realized by either the East or the West.

India still remains the western world something of a mystery, a succession of romantic and gorgeous pictures, or a fantastic fable, without form or meaning. To capture the flavor of this extraordinary land, to understand the inner life of her people, their experiences and ways of thought, their beliefs and aspirations, can only become possible by going back three thousand five hundred years in her history and tracing the wide and uninterrupted stream of her literary activity, up from the early Sanskrit Vedas of 1500 B.C. to the present time, when Sanskrit works still continue to be written side by side with modern works in English, whose modes of thought and expression are different from those of the West, because of their Sanskrit background, and which are offering what to us are new ways of solving problems, new interpretations of life, new modes of artistic expression, gleaned from the genius of their ancient culture. Thus, it runs through the whole history of India, through its three or four thousand years, a high road, or it is perhaps more accurate to say, a high mountain path of literature. With the exception of China, Max Muller tells us, there is nothing like this literary continuity in the whole world.

It is the purpose of this thesis to trace the flow of the stream of literacy activity down to the present time when, with the birth of Indo-Anglian literature, the fundamental purpose of Indian literature has become revealed to the world,- with the earnest desire that this revelation may be one more means of strengthening the ties between East and West.





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