When Mirrors are Windows: A View of A.K. Ramanujans Poetics

ISBN : 9780199463602

Guillermo Rodriguez
570 ページ
138 x 216 mm

In an ocean where myriads of rivers converge, can one sole river lend the ocean its distinct flavour? For someone who is at home with several languages, literary traditions, and disciplines, is it possible for one form to criss-cross the landscape of another? In a poet's world of mirrors, where stream and earth are sky, one may 'sometimes count every orange on a tree', but can one count 'all the trees in a single orange'?
In this volume, Guillermo Rodríguez explores these possibilities by analysing the works of one of Indias finest poets, translators, essayists, and scholars of the twentieth century, A.K. Ramanujan (1929-1993).
A spectrum of published and unpublished sources-including some of Ramanujans hitherto unknown private diaries, notes, poetry drafts, and scholarly writings sourced from the A.K. Ramanujan Papers archived at the University of Chicago-are studied to illuminate the influence of classical Tamil, medieval bhakti, and oral folk aesthetics and literature on his work. This vastly informative and critical work makes us aware of his attention to the various aesthetic and poetic contexts in his life and work, and shows how these are reflected in his writings as a way of thinking and nurturing force behind his creative self.


Foreword by Girish Karnad
List of Abbreviations Used for the Dating of Prose and Poetry by
A.K. Ramanujan
Plate Section (between pp. 264 and 265) 
1. Writing on A.K. Ramanujan: The 'Critical Scene'
2. Watching the Birds and the Watcher
3. Living Among 'Relations': Biographical Contexts
4. Holding the Mirror: A.K. Ramanujan's 'Inner' Aesthetics
5. Refl ecting on Art: A.K. Ramanujan's 'Outer' Aesthetics
6. Composing an Image: A.K. Ramanujan's 'Inner' Poetics
7. Relating Poetries: A.K. Ramanujan's 'Outer' Poetics
8. Translating Tradition 
Appendix 1 Primary Sources for a Study of A.K. Ramanujan's Poetics 
Appendix 2 The Making of a 'Composition': A.K. Ramanujan's Second Sight
Chart 1 Life, Career Details, and Writings: A Chronology
Chart 2 Overview of A.K. Ramanujan's Published Writings
A.K. Ramanujan Bibliography
Additional Readings
About the Author


Guillermo Rodríguez, an active promoter of Indo-Spanish cultural relations, is the founding director of Casa de la India, a pioneering cultural centre in Spain, which has become the model for India's cultural diplomacy abroad. A passionate traveller, it was during a visit to India in the early 1990s that he chanced upon Indian poetry in the translations of A.K. Ramanujan, thereby awakening his interest in the life and works of the poet-scholar.