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The conference will host over 40 scholars of various disciplines from North America, Europe, South Asia, and Australasia:


Artist: Vasuki
Artist: Kiko
Artist: Vasan

Abraham, S.
Ambalavanar, D.
Arasu, V.
Champakalakshmi, R.
Cheran, R.
Fukao, J.
George, G.
George, U.
Ghose, R.
Guruge, S.
Jegathesan, M.
Kanaganayakam, C.
Kanthasamy, P.
Karunakaran, K.
Karunanithi, G.
Kingsolver, A.
Mason, R.
Maunaguru, S.
Maunaguru, Sitralega
McNaughton, S.
More, J.B.P.
Orr, L.
Pai, G.
Palaniappan, S.
Pandian, M.S.S.
Rajesh, V.
Renganathan, V.
Sangarasivam, Y.
Seylon, R.
Shanmugam, K.
Sivalingam, H.
Sriramachandran, R.
Sundar, A.
Tambiah, S.J.
Tyyskä, V.
Vaitheespara, R.
Vivekananthan, P.
Whitaker, M.
Xavier, S.
Young, K.
Younger, P.

Chelva Kanaganayakam

Department of English
University of Toronto

Translation, Continuity, and Contemporary Aesthetics
Saturday, June 2nd | 3:00 - 5:00 PM

Traditional scholarship has maintained that within the corpus of Cankam poetry the significance of Nedunalvadai lies in its capacity to destabilize the binarism of Aham (love or the inner world) and Puram (war or the outer world) while maintaining the complex poetic requirements of classical poetry. The pre-eminence of the poem merits translation, and translation inevitably poses a number of questions. The present paper, occasioned by a translation into English by the author, analyzes the poem from a contemporary perspective to raise the question of enduring aesthetic value. It argues that the subject matter of the poem requires careful artifice, and that the poem demonstrates a struggle to articulate complex layers of meaning within certain poetic and cultural constraints. And some of the thematic preoccupations of the poem and its suggestive power have transcended the vicissitudes of time to make their presence felt even in contemporary literature. Despite the ostensible break in literary history after the Cankam period, the poem retains considerable importance for the modern reader. The paper thus argues that moving beyond the framework of classical aesthetics might well be an important step in recognizing the enduring importance of Nedunalvadai.

Dr. Kanaganayakam's research interests are in Southeast Asian literature, contemporary Indian and Sri Lankan writing, literature of exile and postcolonial theory. His major publications include Moveable Margins: The Shifting Spaces of Canadian Literature (2005); Counterrealism and Ingo Anglian Fiction (2002); Lutesong and Lament: Tamil Writing from Sri Lanka (2001); Dark Antonyms and Paradise: The Poetry of Rienzi Crusz (1997); Configurations of Exile: South Asian Writers and Their World (1995), and Structures of Negation: The Writings of Zulfikar Ghose (1993).