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Brief History of Telugu Literature

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History of Telugu Literature.

Telugu is found recorded as early as the 7th century AD but as a literary language it came into its own probably in the 11th century when Nannaya translated the Mahabharata into this language. However, Nannaya’s work is quite original because of the freshness of treatment Bhima Kavi wrote a work on Telugu grammar besides the Bhimeswara Puranam. Tikkanna (13th century) and Yerranna (14th century) continued the translation of the Mahabharata as begun by Nannaya.

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It the 14th-15th centuries evolved the Telugu literary form rolled Prabandha (a story in verse with a tight metrical system) popularized by Srinatha. In this period we also have the Ramayana translated into Telugu—the earliest such work being the Ranganatha Ramayana by Gona Buddha Reddi. Potana, Jakkana and Gaurana are well-known religious poets of the day. Vemana wrote a sataka on moral.

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The reign of Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar may be considered the golden age in the literature of this language. Krishnadeva Raya’s Amuktamalyada is an outstanding poetic work. Allasani Peddana was another at great poet who wrote Manu Charita. Nandi Thimmana’s Paryjathapaharanam is another famous work. Tenali Ramakrishna’s popularity lay in his being a poet as well as jester at Krishnadeva Raya’s court. He wrote the Panduranga Mahamaya. After the fall of Vijayanagar, Telugu literature flourished in pockets of the south, such as the capitals of the various Nayaka rulers.

The modern period in Telugu literature begins in the nineteenth century and the initiators of this period were Chinnaya Suri and Kandukuri Viresalingam. The latter writer influenced practically all branches of Telugu literature. He wrote the first novel, the first play, the first research thesis on Telugu poets, the first autobiography and the first book on popular science in the language. He used literature to eradicate social evils. Famous younger contemporaries of Viresalingam were Chilakamarti Lakshminarasimham, Vedam Venkata Sastri, C.R Reddy, K.V. Lakshmana Rao, G. Appa Rao, among others. V. Satyanarayana has won the Jnanpith Award.

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