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The Alaṃkāraśāstra is the native tradition of Sanskrit poetics, rhetoric, and literary theory. It functions as a kind of grammar to the language of the kāvya literature (Bronner 2007). Some of the most important works in the Alaṃkāraśāstra are Bharata’s Nāṭyaśāstra, Daṇḍin’s Kāvyādarśa (c. 700 AD), and Ānandavardhana’s Dhvanyāloka (c. 850 AD). Some central concepts in this tradition include rasa ‘mood or sentiment’, rīti ‘style or way of composition’, dhvani ‘suggestion’, and aucitya ‘propriety’. Among the rhetorical devices discussed are upamā ‘simile’, rūpaka ‘metaphor’, utprekṣā ‘poetic fancy’, and atiśayokti ‘hyperbole’.

The Alaṃkāraśāstra intersects with the Sanskrit grammatical tradition (Vyākaraṇa) in many aspects and builds upon such grammatical concepts as case, number, gender, as well as compounding techniques and syntactic structures in its own development of an independent analysis of poetic expressivity (Bronner 2007).

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