25 January, 2021

Method To The Mad Singer

A masterly, yet uncritical, excavation of A.K. Ramanujan’s varied poetics

Method To The Mad Singer

Poet, translator, folklorist and writer, A.K. Ramanujan’s intellectual versatility is uncommon. Equally rare is the fact that most of his writings can satiate scholarly as well as general curiosity. AKR’s translations of folk tales, classical Tamil poems, medieval Kannada and Tamil Bhakti poetry and modern Kannada fiction, his own poetry and his essays on a range of literary themes offer a rich feast for any serious student of Ind­ian culture. For speakers of Indian languages with dilemmas about writing in English, AKR’s views on writing and translation can offer much constructive advice.

A young Spanish tourist’s encounter with AKR’s poems in Benaras, a few months after the latter’s death in 1993, led to a long-drawn res­earch. Based on doctoral work pursued at the universities of Kerala and Valladoid (Spain), Gui­llermo Rodriguez’s When Mirrors are Win­dows (WMW) strives to offer a synthetic account of AKR’s poetics, while being aware that such an effort will be challenged by “the language...



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