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By Stephen C. Berkwitz
Many researchers have explored the influence of British and French Orientalism within the reinterpretations of Buddhism in South and Southeast Asia throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. much less spotted, notwithstanding, and occasionally mentioned is the impression of Portuguese colonialists and missionaries upon Buddhist groups within the 16th and 17th centuries throughout Asia. Stephen C. Berkwitz addresses this subject matter by means of interpreting 5 poetic works by means of Alagiyavanna Mukaveti (b.1552), a popular Sinhala poet who participated at once within the convergence of neighborhood and trans-local cultures in early sleek Sri Lanka. Berkwitz follows the written works of the poet from his place within the court docket of a Sinhala king, in the course of the cultural upheavals of war and the growth of colonial rule, and eventually to his eventual conversion to Catholicism and employment below the Portuguese Crown. In so doing, Berkwitz explores the modifications in faith and literature rendered by way of what was once arguably the earliest sustained stumble upon among Asian Buddhists and ecu colonialists in global history.
Alagiyavanna's poetic works provide expression to either a discourse of nostalgia for the neighborhood spiritual and cultural order within the past due 16th century, and a discourse of cultural assimilation with the hot colonial order in the course of its ascendancy within the early 17th century. applying an interdisciplinary procedure that mixes Buddhist experiences, heritage, Literary feedback, and Postcolonial stories, this e-book yields very important insights into how the colonial event contributed to the transformation of Buddhist tradition in early modernity.
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Extra info for Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka
But between the arrival of Dom Lourenço de Almeida at the port of Colombo in 1506 and the ﬁnal expulsion of the Portuguese from the island in 1658 by the Dutch, the Portuguese came Buddhist Literary Culture in Early Modern Ceilão 17 to see the island as a proﬁtable and strategically important land that could bolster their hold over seaborne trade in the Indian Ocean. 36 Nevertheless, the Portuguese waited until 1518 to construct their ﬁrst fort near the port of Colombo, several miles from the king’s capital in Koṭṭe.
24 The development of Sinhala poetry (kavi) emerged in the second millennium reﬂecting the social location and aesthetic imagination of Sanskrit poetic creations. If Sinhala poems aspired to a kind of timeless, formal beauty that could give rise to certain aesthetic eﬀects long after they are written, such a cultural presumption exposed the elite sociopolitical environments in which such goals could be expressed and pursued. 25 Poets were intimately involved in promoting and enhancing the power of kings and nobles by composing verses that celebrated them as elite connoisseurs who could grasp and take pleasure in such literary works.
His determination to expel the Portuguese from Sri Lanka led him to raise additional sieges on their base in Colombo. Later, R ājasiṃha also successfully defeated the Kandyan king, capturing Kandy and acquiring important resources in his battles against the Portuguese. Thus while Alagiyavanna was composing and reciting his ﬁrst poem, Sävul Sandēśaya, a largely eulogistic work celebrating the virtues of R ājasiṃha and the city of Sītāvaka, his king continued to devise ways to defeat the Portuguese.
Buddhist Poetry and Colonialism: Alagiyavanna and the Portuguese in Sri Lanka by Stephen C. Berkwitz