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Being Tamil, Being International : Literary Modernism, The  Eḻuttu way.


· Léticia Ibanez Inalco (Paris, France)


07/28 | 15:50-16:10 UTC+2/CEST


Eluttu (“Literary Work”), which ran from 1959 to 1970,  is the most prestigious Tamil literary magazine of its time.Closely identified with its main-contributor-cum-director Ci.Cu.Cellappā (1912-1998), Eḻuttu didn’t serve any ideology nor strive for commercial success : it was all about “serious writing”. A paragon of dedication to the cause of literature, this monthly magazine launched several major writers, gave a place to new literary genres such as putukkavitai (free verse poetry) and placed considerable emphasis on literary criticism articles dealing either with Tamil or foreign literature. Ci.Cu.Cellappā wanted to develop an awareness of World literature with a focus on English-language works and in this respect, Eḻuttu was the most Westernized Tamil little magazine of the 1960’s. A heir to the modernist tradition shaped in the 1930’s by Maṇikkoṭi (“The Jeweled Banner”), the pionneer of Tamil little magazines, Eḻuttu endeavored to deprovincialize Tamil literature, which would become attuned with international aesthetic trends. By accepting the West at the center of the République mondiale des lettres (Casanova 1999), Eḻuttu stood against the devotees of Tamil classical language and literature. Eḻuttu’s literary ideal was both Tamil and international : this paper aims at analyzing what the writers involved in Eluttu meant by those two notions and how they tried to articulate them.