Viramamunivar alias Father Costanzio Beschi Great Tamil Poet

Perhaps the greatest literary figure in Later Tamil poetry was Viramamunivar (1680-1747). Actually it was the pen name of Father Costanzio Beschi, an Italian Jesuits who taught for 36 years in Tamil country.

Like many early Christian missionaries, he lived in wholly Indian fashion and attained a complete mastery over the Tamil language and literary conventions. It is doubtful if any European before or since has gained so profound a knowledge of an Indian language. Beschi’s long poem “Tembavani” tells the stories from the Old and New Testaments in ornately beautiful Tamil. His style and the treatment of his themes were altogether in keeping with tradition, but influence of Tasso, an Italian poet of the 16th century, best known for his poem La Gerusalemme liberata, has been traced in his work.

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