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Artefacts of WritingIdeas of the State and Communities of Letters from Matthew Arnold to Xu Bing$
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Peter D. McDonald

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198725152

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198725152.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 24 September 2021

Against Naturalization

Against Naturalization

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and the ‘interplay of languages’

(p.226) 7 Against Naturalization
Artefacts of Writing

Peter D. McDonald

Oxford University Press

Seen in the context of the analogy UNESCO draws between cultural and biological diversity, this chapter reflects on the leading contemporary Indian poet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra’s choice of English as a literary medium and on his practice as a poet-translator. Like a number of other major poets of the post-independence era, including Arun Kolatkar, A. K. Ramanujan, and Adil Jussawalla, and following in a path Joyce pioneered, Mehrotra refused naturalism in two ways: first, he declined to write in his ‘mother tongue’ (Hindi); second, he chose not to indigenize English as an Indian language. Instead, he chose a number of foreignizing and, for him, denaturalizing strategies, including Americanization. The chapter, which also considers the significance of these strategies given the terms of the Indian constitution, ranges widely across Mehrotra’s oeuvre, focusing on The Absent Traveller (1991) and Songs of Kabir (2001).

Keywords:   Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, Kolatkar, Ramanujan, Jussawalla, translation, mother tongue, biological diversity, indigenization, foreignization, Indian constitution

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