Definitions of kaḷavu in the Old Tamil Poetological Tradition.The Convergence of Interests

Eva Wilden


The present paper is a study of the development of a concept that is a constitutive part of the division of Classical Tamil poetics concerned with the themes of Akam, love poetry. In the two poetological treatises belonging to the first millennium, the Tolkāppiyam Poruḷatikāram and the Iṟaiyaṉār Akapporuḷ, we find four different definitions of what kaḷavu is, a term denoting the phase of secret love for the poetic couple, in contradistinction to kaṟpu, the phase of publicly known or post-marital love. Considerations of structural plausibility as well as phrasal and stylistic analysis provide arguments for the systematic and temporal interrelation of sources.

Full Text:



Firenze University Press
Borgo Albizi, 28 - 50122 Firenze
Tel. (0039) 055 2757700 Fax (0039) 055 2757712