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16th Classical Tamil Winter Seminar, 12th February to 9th March 2018

14th CTSS, September 2017

In 2018 the CTSS will be back on the old winter schedule and take place in the Pondy centre of the EFEO from 12th February to 9th March 2018, that is, for a full 4 weeks. In addition to the customary advanced reading groups, a beginner's course will take place, provided there is a minimum of five inscriptions by the end of December 2017. The day will be split into two morning reading sessions for the principal text and a choice of afternoon reading sessions devoted to selected texts from different genres of Tamil literature. Classes will be presided over by experts (young and old, Indian and Western) who provide the material and present their work and view of the chosen text, but emphasis will be laid on the discussion in the forum. The goal will not be to arrive at a single "correct" translation, but rather to explore the different possibilities of understanding, based on commentary or argument. In accordance with the general philological outlook of the EFEO, work will not only proceed from the current editions but will included manuscript material photographed by our lab, or in the case of inscriptions photographs and estampages.

The first two weeks under the guidance of Indra Manuel will be devoted to a literary text notorious for its complexity, the late Caṅkam anthology Paripāṭal, a collection of, according to its mnemonic stanza, 70 songs, some 24 of which survive along with a number of fragments. We will focus on the hymns for Cevvēḷ-Murukaṉ and for the river Vaiya. The last two weeks G. Vijayavenugopal will introduce us to the one of the few Puṟam survivors, the 12th-century Kaliṅkattuparaṇi with its demonesses dancing on the corpses of the Cōḻa king's battlefield.

 

Programme

The working day for advanced students will be divided into three reading sessions, two in the morning and one in the afternoon, the first two interrelated in that one of them is devoted to a text while the second takes up its revision and detailed discussion. The first session will last from 9.30-11.00 a.m., the second from 11.30 a.m.-1 p.m. (with a coffee break in between), the third session from 3-4.30 p.m., followed by a tea break. Each text will be read and discussed line by line, in detail, and contributions and suggestions for alternative translations will be welcome. It will be up to each participant to decide whether he/she wants to take part actively in all three sessions or whether they prefer to skip one or the other in order to have the time to prepare for the texts that interest them most.

Beginner's Class

A beginners class will take place, provided there is a minimum of five inscriptions by the end of December 2017. The beginners will start in the morning with a grammar class from 9.30-11 a.m. For the rest of the morning they will have personal preparation time. In the early afternoon, they will have a text class (3-4.30 p.m.) up to the tea break.

Evening Lectures and Concerts

Twice a week in the early evenings there will again be the customary evening lectures, an occasion to invite outside experts, but also time for participants to present their current work to the group. We hope also to be able to maintain our concert tradition on Friday evenings.

Who can participate?

As usual, we look forward to welcoming back former participants. Anybody with at least a basic knowledge of the Classical language will be welcome. We would also like strongly to encourage Indian students to participate in our classes (and for them there will be specially reduced fees). Beginners should have knowledge of modern Tamil or of another Dravidian language.

For further inquiries contact Eva Wilden: wilden.eva@gmail.com

Organisation

Practical organisation rests, as ever, in the hands of the secretary of the EFEO centre in Pondicherry, Mrs Prerana PATEL (preranapatel@efeo-pondicherry.org). Please contact her for any practical question. As the EFEO is currently having to adjust to a tight budget, we would appreciate being able to calculate more precisely the number of people likely to be expected. We have therefore drawn up an application form which has to be filled up and sent to the address above as soon as possible, at the latest, however, by the end of December 2017.

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