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Abstract

My project explores the translation and transmission of Sanskrit poet Kālidāsa’s poem Cloud Messenger (Meghadūta) into Tibet as a case-study for understanding the Tibetan reception and interpretation of Sanskrit poetics. More broadly, because the Tibetan reception of Cloud Messenger transpired in a formative period in Tibetan literary and cultural history, an analysis of this translation demonstrates how cross-cultural literary encounters—between India and Tibet—engendered the transmission of this popular South Asian genre of messenger poetry in Tibet. My central thesis for this project is that the fourteenth-century Tibetan translation of Cloud Messenger is usefully understood as simultaneously a Tibetan Buddhist reinterpretation of Kālidāsa’s original piece, and a Tibetan poetical innovative work, thus a contribution to the genre of messenger poetry itself.

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