The Panchatantra: World Literature Before "World Literature"

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    The Panchatantra (Pañcatantra) is the most famous collection of Indian fables. The oldest written versions are in Sanskrit and date from early in the first millennium ce. The individual narratives that make up the collection are arranged within a frame-story of an elderly brahmin charged with the education of three young princes. His stories, a mixture of prose and verses drawn from a wide range of authoritative texts, are organized according to five themes – the five tantras of the title: sowing dissent, making alliances, infiltrating an enemy, the loss of one's gains, and rash deeds. By the end of the first millennium the Panchatantra had been translated into Persian and Arabic, and spread thence throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Before the advent of modern transport and communications, versions were found from Bali to Iceland, and Ethiopia to China.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationA Companion to World Literature
    Editors Ken Seigneurie
    Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
    PublisherWiley Blackwell
    ISBN (Print)978-1-118-99318-7
    Publication statusPublished - 2019


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