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When Mirrors Are WindowsA View of A.K. Ramanujan's Poetics$
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Guillermo Rodríguez

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780199463602

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199463602.001.0001

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Living among ‘Relations’

Living among ‘Relations’

Biographical Contexts

(p.72) 3 Living among ‘Relations’
When Mirrors Are Windows

Guillermo Rodríguez

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on Ramanujan’s aesthetics from a biographical perspective. It examines how his early environments influenced his aesthetic receptivity and highlights fundamental features in the first 30 years (1929–59) of his life: his multilingual childhood and education, as well as his hobbies and early professional work that shaped his ‘Indian way of thinking’, combining a ‘context-sensitive’ compartmentalization of the world with the ‘context-free’ dream leap. It also describes how Ramanujan was aesthetically and culturally attracted to what he himself later defined as ‘counter-systems’. When Ramanujan moved to the USA in 1959, the experience of being in between two worlds, India and the USA, added yet another skill to his miscellaneous criss-crossings. He became an expert in the art of translating himself and his audience into other cultures, and his twofold academic and poetic vocation was able to thrive in a natural extension of his past while being challenged by new discoveries.

Keywords:   literary biography, postcolonial studies, Mysore, University of Chicago, Dravidian studies, Indian studies in America

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