Page:A catalogue of the Telugu Books in the Library of the British Museum.djvu/8

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iv PREFACE. through the dominions of the Nizam. The Telugu country further occupies the north- eastern edge of Bellary, the greater, eastern, part of Anantapur, and the eastern corner of Mysore. Through North Arcot and Chingleput the border line thence runs back to the sea."* The extant Telugu literature may be said to begin with Nannaya Bhattu,f a Vaidika brahman of the Mudgala-gotra, who was a poet at the court of the Chalukya Raja-narendra or Vishnu-vardhana, son of Vimaladitya. Raja-narendra was king of the Vengi-nadu, the old Telugu country, I and I'eigned in Rajahmundry. Under his patronage, early in the eleventh century, Nannaya, with the aid of a certain Narilyana BhaLtu, composed a poetical Telugu version of the first three books of the Sanskrit Maha-bharata, which was supple- mented some two centuries later 1)y Tikkana Soma-yoji, who added a version of the greater part of the remaining books. This " Andhra-bharata " of Nannaya and Tikkana remains to the present day the chief classic of Telugu literature ; and in the same way Nannaya's Andhra-sabda-chintamani has been the basis of all subsequent works on Telugu grammar and stylistic. Nannaya's successors have left numerous works behind them. Among the poets of the earlier period (circa 1000-1450 a.d.) whose poems are catalogued in the following pages are Tikkana, Erra Pregada, Raiiga-nathudu, Bhaskarudu, Ketana, and indeed nearly all the most brilliant writers who have survived. An Augustan age may be said to begin in the middle of the 15th century, under the patronage of Krishna-deva Raya of Vijaya- nagar. From that date the number of poets and writers on various sulijects began to increase, and is still increasing, with notable rapidity.§

  • Linguistic Survey <if IniJia, vol. iv., p. .^77.

f Naturally Namiaya was not the first finished poet in Anclhra speech. But until recently no earlier poems seem to have been generally known to exist. In 1909, however, M. Rfima-krishna Kavi has published as no. 2 of the " Forgotten Poets " Series a Kumara-sambhaamu purporting to be by Nanne Choda-deva Tc-nkanaditya, son of Chrda-balli, king of Oravnru (Trichinopoly) ; and the editor on his English title-page gives the year of his death as A.D. 940, while in his preface he states that he fell in battle against the Western Chalukyas in Salea 940. J Tills region covers about 8,000 square miles, and is bounded on the east by the Bay of Bengal, on the north by the river Godavarl, and on the .south by the Krishna (Kistna). The ruins of its ancient capital, Voiigi, exist .some eight miles north of Ellore. § It is interesting now to contrast present conditions with the words of the lute ]Ir. C. V. Brown on p. 2.5 of his privately printed "Literary Life" (1872). He writes: "When I began these tasks, Telugu literature was dying out, the flame was just glimmering in the socket. The Madras College founded in 181.3 preserved a little spark, but the pandits expressed to me their grief, that the ruling powers regarded them as useless pensioners. Tlu' ancietit Ti^lugu classics were in a deplorable state; like that of Oreek and Latin authors before the invention of printing ; but a revision made in my house, grounded on a collation of manuscripts, has successfully reproduced the leading Telugu poems in a pure and complete state."