The Traditional Theory of Literature was first published in 1962. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
Through a study of works of the contemporary Indian scholar Ananda K. Coomaraswamy, as well as of other exponents of the ancient doctrine of the Perennial Philosophy, Professor Livingston develops and explicates a traditional theory of literature.
Coomaraswamy, who died in 1947, published widely on a broad range of subjects in art, philosophy, literature, and other fields. Although he is relatively little known, those acquainted with is work acclaim him as one of the great thinkers of our time. His study and writing were devoted primarily to bridging the gap between Oriental and Western cultures.
From the treasury of traditional learning which Coomaraswamy amassed in his profusion of books and articles, Professor Livingston has drawn those elements which contribute to an essential theory of literature. Although he quotes from some of Coomaraswamy's Oriental sources, he delineates the theory in an idiom that is more familiar to the West, as stated or implied in the works of Dante, Milton, and Blake, among others.