A.K. Ramanujan’s ‘Outer’ Poetics
The critical approach followed in this chapter is pluralistic and takes into consideration the diverse literary and critical traditions present in Ramanujan’s scholarly work and their different conceptualizations of poetry and poetics. These multiple components are not placed in a hegemonic relationship, but treated as a network of ideas that feed into Ramanujan’s ‘outer’ poetics. It relates his professional involvement with several Western critical disciplines and Indian traditional poetics and their impact on his poetic thought, covering the mother-tongue (Tamil Sangam, Tamil and Kannada bhakti) and father-tongue traditions (literature in English, Sanskrit poetics), and the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western and Indian poets and their use of the past. The description of these literary traditions and schools draws attention to the scholar’s characteristic interpretation of their systems of poetry in the light of his own critical notions and ideals.
Keywords: literary criticism and theory, New Criticism, structuralism, comparative literary studies, contemporary poetry, T.S. Eliot, modern Kannada poetry, Sanskrit poetics, medieval bhakti poetics, Tamil poetics
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