By Guillermo Rodríguez
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, I explore these possibilities by analysing the works of one of India’s 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A spectrum of published and unpublished sources—including some of Ramanujan’s hitherto unknown private diaries, notes, poetry drafts, and scholarly writings sourced from the A.K. Ramanujan Papers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 critical work published by Oxford University Press in June 2016 draws attention to the various aesthetic and poetic contexts in Ramanujan`s life and work, and shows how these are reflected in his writings as a way of thinking and nurturing force behind his creative self.