In general, readers, commentators, translators, and reviewers are bound to see shadows of themselves or of their own concerns in a poem. A poem is, in fact, a “patch” between desire and reality. Like a dream, a poem can be viewed as “reality encoded” (Skura 1981, 126). The issue is not what is actually on the page, what critic Harold Bloom calls the “manifest text” (Bloom 1987, 3). The poem is really what exists in that misty place between “writing” and “reading,” the “latent text,” the poem that lives in symbol or emblem. Though a poem certainly has a static life on a page, the actual events of reading, interpretation, and commentary are what give a poem a vital historical life. We are fortunate that over a millennium and a half of Sanskrit scholarship has yielded up to us actual records of historical moments of reading. And, since these recorded “moments” have become traditionally attached to various types of printed text, many of these commentaries have become as vital as the text itself. In some instances they have even superseded the text, as is true, I believe, in the case of Abhinavagupta's commentary on Ānandavardhana's Dhvanyāloka.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.