978-0-04-891038-7 / 9780048910387

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About the book:

Sinhalese, the language of the majority of the people of Sri Lanka, has a rich literature spanning a thousand years and possesses fragments of even earlier writings. Mainly Buddhist in inspiration and written by Buddhist monks, little of the literature has been tranlated into European languages before, and the present anthology is the first comprehensive collection in the English language. The anthology starts with fragments of verses scribbled on plaster walls from the 6th to 9th centuries. It continues with the great prose works of the 15th and 16th, among them many secular poems. The British capture of Kandy in 1815 marked the end of an era for the island. Post 1815 literature is covered in a companion volume.

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