Mysore Literature

Mysore Literature

Mysore literature in Kannada is a body of literature composed in the Kannada language in the historical Kingdom of Mysore in Southern India and written in the Kannada script. The writings date from the Kingdom of Mysore, which existed from around 1600 CE until the establishment of modern India in 1947. Many of the works of this literature written on religious themes are labeled Veerashaiva or Vaishnava in acknowledgment of the two faiths that gave form to the literature and fostered it until the advent of the modern era Despite a gradual decline in the popularity of Jainism, authors devoted to the faith produced some works of merit. Secular themes dealing with a wide range of subjects were also written on. Kannada literature flourished for a short while in the court of the neighbouring kingdom of the Nayakas of Keladi whose territory was annexed by Mysore in 1763.

During an age of revival and innovation, some Mysore court poets brought back the classical champu (a composition in prose-verse), a form of writing that had prevailed in Kannada prior to 13th century, and initiated writings on contemporary history. Yakshagana, a native form of dramatic literature meant for a rustic audience, consolidated in the coastal and malnad (hill) regions in the 16th century and gained popularity thereafter, and spread to Mysore and Yelandur. The literature of the itinerant Haridasas, popular in the 15th and 16th century, was revived in the 18th and 19th century, and had a strong influence on devotionalism in the Kannada speaking regions. The vachana poetic tradition was repopularised by some poets while others wrote anthologies and doctrines based on the 12th century Veerashaiva canon. Social developments in the 19th century brought the influence of English literature and classical Sanskrit literature, resulting in the birth of modern prose, prose narrative and theatrical literature.

The men of letters in the Mysore royal court included not only the court poets, who were often quite prolific, but also on occasion the rulers themselves. In the post Vijayanagara period, a new kind of lyrical poetry, one unaffiliated with the royal court, and written by maverick-poets was gaining popularity. A wide range of metres, indigenous and Sanskritic, were popular including tripadi (3-line verse), shatpadi (6-line verse) and saptapadi (7-line verse) metres, and gadya (prose).

Read more about Mysore Literature:  Pre-16th Century Literature, 17th Century Writings, Developments Up To The Mid-20th Century

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