Catalogue of Sanskrit and Pali Books in the British Museum, 1876 (Classic Reprint)

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Fb&c Limited, 2018 M09 30 - 202 pages
Excerpt from Catalogue of Sanskrit and Pali Books in the British Museum, 1876

Tm: present volume represents the first endeavour to reduce Sanskrit Bibliography to the system generally followed in occidental compilations of the same kind, a system unknown to the East, where titles of books are often deemed a matter of greater moment than the names of their authors. The form this work has assumed is owing chiefly to the circumstance that all oriental books were formerly incorporated into the general Alphabetical Catalogue, and had to conform, as best they might, to the rules therein followed. Of late years, however, the rapid development of this department of literature, taken in conjunction with the fundamental differences obtaining in the whole structure of works of this class as compared with the productions of the European mind, has rendered it necessary to follow a different course. To render them more easily accessible, oriental books had to be embodied in separate catalogues, subject to rules specially suited to meet the requirements of the case.

The task of framing such rules is much simplified by the fact that a multitude of con siderations which come into play when we deal with anonymous publications of European literature find no application in our case. Oriental writers are almost universally accustomed to give distinct names to their literary productions, whether anonymous or not. These names are fashioned mostly according to rhetorical fancies rather than founded on sound reasons, although a certain conventionality, vaguely suggestive of the nature of the work, runs throughout most of them. In any case the titles form such a characteristic feature that one could not, in the absence of an author's name, wish for a better substitute.

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