In this volume, A. K. Ramanujan translates old Tamil poems selected from anthologies compiled around two millennia ago.These poems are 'classical' -early ancient; they are also 'classics'-works that have stood the test of time, the founding works of a whole tradition. Early classical Tamil literature (c.100 BC—AD 250) consists of eight anthologies (Ettuttokai), the ten long poems (Pattuppattu), and a grammar called the Tolkappiyan or the 'old composition'. With the marriage of traditional form and the language of modern usage, the greatness of classical Tamil literature becomes evident to readers: the poems speak to one another, with lyricism and drama.
The poems are followed by an Afterword: an essay on the Tamil world picture and its relation to Tamil poetry and poetics. The transliteration of Tamil words follows the Tamil lexicon. This edition contains a new preface by Molly Daniels-Ramanujan.
College students, research scholars, general readers interested in South Asian literature and poetry, literature critics.
'Ramanujan's translations can hardly be bettered in any respect.' —The Indian Express
'… perhaps the most satisfactory of the translations that are available. … [The book] tries to represent almost all types of poems of the ancient Tamils.' —Freedom First
'a valuable contribution … This book should be acquired by all those who are interested in Indian literature.' —The Tribune
'The poems offered in this selection date back to the early Tamil classical period … The notes, the preface and the afterword represent years of research' —The Sunday Observer
'… a clear, significant translation of poems of our celebrated heritage' —Indian and Foreign Review
'[The] English poems are firmly founded on a clear, precise, nuanced reading of the original Tamil texts and commentaries.' —Journal of the American Oriental Society
A.K. Ramanujan (1929-1993) William E. Colvin Professor at the University of Chicago, and taught at various other institutions for forty years. He was awarded a Padma Shri in 1976 and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship in 1983. He was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1990 and won a posthumous prize from the Sahitya Akademi for poetry in English.