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This paper engages the extraordinary, but little-known, story of Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak’s textual contretemps with the “mad” Bangla poet, Benoy Majumdar, who long ago wrote a collection of love poems to her. In recounting this episode, it grapples with the poetics and politics of “identity’s last secret,” wondering how we are led to translation as the sublime object of comparative aesthetics. Yet such is the double bind of theory that like the poet’s unrequited love it can never be translated—or following Spivak, de-transcendentalized—into reality. In the end, does the poet’s adored object (ishwari) remain merely a “Dream-Girl,” confined to the pages of poetry, never walking out of his text into reality?
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