The translator as rereader
A. K. Ramanujan’s poetics of translation
A. K. Ramanujan’s complicated invocations of fidelity in the paratexts of his pioneering translations have invited analyses that focus on contradictions and paradoxes in his translation theory and practice. Providing a brief historical overview of translation in the South Asian context, this article contextualizes fidelity as a colonial remnant produced due to Ramanujan’s need to move between two disparate models of translation. Emphasizing Ramanujan’s identity as a poet-translator, I claim that his translation practice should be seen to have a poetics of its own; the impression of contradiction or paradox is resolved and the colonial remnant of fidelity decentralized if we consider this poetics to be a deeply hermeneutic act. I describe Ramanujan’s translation poetics to be defined by rereading, such that the translator is not just a reader nor fully a writer, but one who straddles both roles with ease to exist in community with other readers.
- Two models: Contexts of fidelity and equivalence
- The translator as rereader
- Rereading and its inevitabilities
- A. K. Ramanujan’s rereadings
- Conclusion: Another Āḷvār