Subramania Bharati (1882-1921), supreme among twentieth century Tamil poets, has also been one of the major creative forces of the modern renaissance in Tamil Nadu, and has been described as Agastya incarnate who re-created Tamil. Although Bharati died young, his collected Poems make a volume of 600 pages, marked by opulence as well as variety, and noted alike for their vitality and musical quality as also their emotional and spiritual appeal.
Dr. Prema Nandakumar has here given a sensitive English rendering of 60 representative pieces, and though these form no more than about one-fifth of the Bharati Canon, they will nevertheless prove a stimulating introduction to Bharati’s manifold and magnificent poetic achivement.
Dr. Nandakumar’s Bharati in English Verse (1958), the nucleus of the present work, was hailed by Rajaji as “the most beautiful and flawless translation, an exquisite success in a very difficult task.” In the present greatly enlarged volume, while the English renderings are at once reliable and readable, the comprehensive biographical and critical Introduction attempts a balanced assessment of the Man and his work, and will help to make them known to an international audience.
About the Author
Prema Nandakumar (b. 1939) had her education in Andhra University, Waltair, and took a first class Honours degree in English in 1957, and her Ph. D. in 1961. Following the publication of her standard book A Study of ‘Savitri’ (1962), she was Senior UGC Research Fellow (1967-70) when she completed her comparative study of Dante and Sri Aurobindo. More than 30 publications to her credit, she has also published a brief Biographies of Sri Aurobindo (1972), and her study of the ‘Mother’ of Sri Aurobindo Ashram and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan.
Dr. Nandakumar’s reviews, essays and short stories have over a period of 30 years appeared in various Indian and foreign journals. Of her collection, The Glory and the Good (1965), Prof. Henry W. Wells wrote in Literature : East West : “It would be difficult to find a more comprehending book in literary exposition during the last year or two in any land. The work issuse spontaneously from the heart and soul of modern India.”
Dr. Nandakumar has also published, in collaboration with her father. Prof. K.R. Srinivasa lyengar, An Introduction to the Study of English Literature (1967). She is besides widely read in Tamil literature, and has published several papers on the Sangam and later poets, as also two monographs on Subramania Bharati. Tiruviruttam and Manimekalai are her poetic translations.
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