A. K. Ramanujan

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This essay explores some of the paradoxes of the vocabulary used by the poet and linguist Ramanujan to describe his practice as a translator. The image of the library is used to highlight the complexity of Ramanujan’s understandings of his position and mandate as cultural mediator. As a modernist poet, professor of South Asian language and literature, and migrant to the United States in the early 1960s, Ramanujan’s background sets him apart from the generation of postcolonial critics who wish to accentuate the differences of translation. The fact that Ramanujan placed himself, the poet, at the centre of the process of mediation makes for a combination of erudition and intimacy that perhaps most appropriately positions him in the lineage of translator-poets.


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