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research activities

Our research, coordinated by Giuliano Boccali from 1997 to 2014, has mainly focused on Indian classical literature (kāvya), its relations with other Indian literary forms, in particular Epics, and the theoretical and aesthetical backgrounds of this vast literary production. A list of authors and texts which have been more deeply considered by single scholars include the Sattasaī of Hāla, the Kāmasūtra of Vātsyāyana, the Meghadūta and Kālidāsa’s court poems, the Daśakumāracarita of Daṇḍin, the Caurapañcāśikā ascribed to Bilhaṇa, and the Gītagovinda of Jayadeva. Interest has also focused on the relation between classical literature and its great antecedents, such as the poetic sections of the Buddhist Canon, the Mahābhārata and the Rāmāyaṇa.

SanchiThe main research subjects are the genesis of classical literature and the relationship between kāvya and Epics; the structure of long poems, and the representation of natural landscapes such as mountains, forests and oceans, and of environments such as the city, the hermitage and the garden; and the relationship between the descriptions of environments, natural as well as humanized, and the intentional evocation by the authors of a specific aesthetic response (rasa) among the ones sanctioned by classical theorists.

Related subjects are the phenomenology of passions, which has been considered from an aesthetic as well as a religious and social point of view; and visual arts, a field of growing interest among us. Other directions of research are pursued, moreover, by single scholars in our team.

During the last years much research has been done in co-operation with the following Indological institutions of other international universities: Department of South and Central Asia, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic; Department of Indology, Institute of Oriental Studies, Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland; Chair of South Asian Studies, Faculty of Oriental Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland; University of Calicut, Kerala, India. The intent of continuing the collaboration has been formalized in September 2008, and officially confirmed in June 2015; for the complete list of initiatives and publications, see the Results of the co-operation since 1998.

In the past, when the Istituto di Glottologia e Lingue orientali (as it was called at that time) was founded, and under the long direction of Vittore Pisani, research was mainly focused on indoeuropeistics. Sanskrit was taught by Enzo Evangelisti for a short period; then, from 1975 to 1997, indological studies were directed by Carlo Della Casa, and the prevalent research subjects were Vedic thought, especially the Upaniṣads, and Jainism, but to some extent classical poetry as well. These last studies were continued by Fabrizia Baldissera and Alessandro Passi, who started their research in Milan, being former students of Carlo Della Casa; as well as Cinzia Pieruccini, now here professor of Indology and History of Indian. Giuliano Boccali, who has been a student of Vittore Pisani, was initially interested in comparative studies, but has been engaged in literary and aesthetic research for more than twenty years.