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NOTE ON THE SO-CALLED "VAGABOND" STANZAS OF K. 235

Abstract : Ashley Thompson's translation has brought to my attention the carefully crafted and erudite article of Au Chhieng on the so-called "vagabond" stanzas CXXIX and CXXX of the famous Sdok Kak Tho╕ inscription (K. 235). Since Au Chhieng's article is here being republished in English, this short note revisiting one of his conclusions seems in order. His article as a whole is full of worthwhile observations, for instance on the way in which a passage of Sanskrit poetry, in spite of a strong stanzaic tendency, actually holds together because, for instance, of a cohesive skein of allusions. In other words, while some readers of the inscriptions, thirsty for historical "facts" and impatient with the flowers of Sanskritic rhetoric, have tended to criticise their overall compositional weakness, and to lay this weakness at the feet of a predilection for composing in discrete stanzas, each of which must be read separately, Au Chhieng emphasises countervailing features that promote cohesion. (For another, textural, device that weaves a series of stanzas together, see Salomon "Concatenation in Kālidāsa and Other Sanskrit Poets.") Nonetheless, Au Chhieng's principal conclusion, namely his proposal to relocate stanza CXXIX in between stanzas LXXVIII and LXXIX, seems to me not tenable. Instead of rehearsing and then quibbling with all the various translations that have been proposed over the decades (for K. 235 is perhaps the most discussed of all the inscriptions of the Khmer corpus), I shall begin simply by setting down my own. The stanza in question, which is, I believe, a job-description and does not describe any individual, reads:
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03267492
Contributor : Dominic Goodall <>
Submitted on : Monday, July 12, 2021 - 4:53:22 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, July 20, 2021 - 9:55:12 AM

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Dominic Goodall. NOTE ON THE SO-CALLED "VAGABOND" STANZAS OF K. 235. Udaya: Journal of Khmer Studies, Yosothor, 2021. ⟨hal-03267492⟩

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