Kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā, a Sanskrit satire from the 11th century
Sanskrit literature is vast and varied. Many Sanskrit texts are very lively and full of humour. Difficult as it is, Kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā, a spicy satire, is one of the texts that make the life of a philologist a true pleasure and a challenging one.
Lunch lecture by IIAS/Gonda fellow Iris Farkhondeh
Lunch will be provided. Registration is required.
The Samayamātṛkā is a satirical work composed by the 11th century Kashmirian author Kṣemendra. The literary form of Kṣemendra’s satires is highly original in Sanskrit literature. In this satire, Kṣemendra tells us how a cunning matron teaches a young courtesan the tricks of the trade. One gets the impression that the men who surround them are the main subjects of the satire, whereas the ways of the matron and the courtesan somehow command admiration. Yet the two characters are definitely depicted as con‑artists. In general, the main topics of Kṣemendra’s different satires are bigotry or feigned morality, affectedness, overzealousness; in a word, hypocrisy. However, more often than not, it seems that under Kṣemendra’s pen, literary pleasure has the upper hand on the desire to edify. Kṣemendra’s Sanskrit is both difficult and fun to read. The author frequently plays with the polysemy of words. The text is far from easy and still riddled with uncertain readings. The lecture will aim at conveying the flavour of the text and its importance in Sanskrit literature. Another part of the presentation will be devoted to the survey of the manuscripts used for the edition.
Iris Farkhondeh is currently a post-doctoral Gonda fellow in Leiden. During her stay with IIAS, she has been working on a critical edition of Kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā. She obtained her PhD in Indology from the University Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3. She has translated Kṣemendra’s Samayamātṛkā into French as an appendix to her PhD dissertation entitled “The representation of female characters in the Sanskrit literature of Kashmir, 8th‑12th centuries”.