Mālavikāgnimitra, c. 370
Vikramorvaśīya, c. 384
Abhijn̄ānaśākutala, c. 395
The Dramas of Kālidāsa, pb. 1946
Ṛtusaṁhāra, c. 365
Meghadūta, c. 375
Kumārasambhava, c. 380
Raghuvaṁśa, c. 390
Legends concerning the life of the Indian poet and dramatist Kālidāsa (kahl-ee-DAWS-ah) abound, but almost no facts are known about him. Scholars have placed the date of his birth as early as the first century
The most famous writer of the post-Vedic period of Sanskrit literature, Kālidāsa produced seven works still extant: three plays, two epic poems, and two lyric poems. All his works are characterized by their delicate, lyrical quality and by a sensitivity both to human feelings and to the beauties of nature. The aesthetic distillation and evocation of powerful conflicting emotions and their resolution, known in Sanskrit poetic theory as rasa, mark all of Kālidāsa’s works.
Of the plays of Kālidāsa, Śakuntalā–the story of the love between a king and a nymph-maiden who, after being separated by a series of violent and supernatural misfortunes, are happily reunited–is the most famous. Its prologue is said to have provided the inspiration for Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s prologue to Faust. All three of Kālidāsa’s plays involve royal sages and goddesslike heroines, and they embody the conflict between desire and physical passion (kāma) and self-control and duty (dharma). Their heroines are among the most appealing in all literature.