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The Essential Tagore showcases the genius of India’s Rabindranath Tagore, the first Asian Nobel Laureate and possibly the most prolific and diverse serious writer the world has ever known.

Marking the 150th anniversary of Tagore’s birth, this ambitious collection—the largest single volume of his work available in English—attempts to represent his extraordinary achievements in ten genres: poetry, songs, autobiographical works, letters, travel writings, prose, novels, short stories, humorous pieces, and plays. In addition to the newest translations in the modern idiom, it includes a sampling of works originally composed in English, his translations of his own works, three poems omitted from the published version of the English Gitanjali, and examples of his artwork.

Tagore’s writings are notable for their variety and innovation. His Sonar Tari signaled a distinctive turn toward the symbolic in Bengali poetry. “The Lord of Life,” from his collection Chitra, created controversy around his very personal concept of religion. Chokher Bali marked a decisive moment in the history of the Bengali novel because of the way it delved into the minds of men and women. The skits in Vyangakautuk mocked upper-class pretensions. Prose pieces such as “The Problem and the Cure” were lauded by nationalists, who also sang Tagore’s patriotic songs.

Translations for this volume were contributed by Tagore specialists and writers of international stature, including Amitav Ghosh, Amit Chaudhuri, and Sunetra Gupta.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674417045
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 11/24/2014
Pages: 864
Sales rank: 358,266
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 1.90(d)

About the Author

Fakrul Alam is Professor of English at the University of Dhaka.

Radha Chakravarty is Associate Professor of English at Gargi College, University of Delhi.

Table of Contents

  • List of Illustrations
  • Foreword: Poetry as Polemic / Amit Chaudhuri
  • Introduction
  • 1. Autobiography

    • Autobiographical
    • From Reminiscences
    • From Boyhood Days
    • My School

  • 2. Letters

    • From Torn Leaves
    • From Letter-Fragments
    • To Mrinalini Devi
    • To Jagadish Chandra Bose
    • To Myron H. Phelps
    • To William Rothenstein
    • To Robert Bridges
    • To James Drummonds Anderson
    • To Lord Chelmsford
    • To Charles Freer Andrews
    • To Kanti Chandra Ghosh
    • To Edward John Thompson
    • To Kazi Nazrul Islam
    • To Romain Rolland
    • To Sir William Rothenstein
    • To Mahatma Gandhi
    • To Mahadev Desai
    • To Sufia Kamal
    • To Pulinbehari Sen
    • To Victoria Ocampo
    • To Revd. Foss Westcott

  • 3. Prose

    • From Self-Reliance and Other Essays
    • Statecraft and Ethics
    • The Components of Literature
    • The Significance of Literature
    • The Problem of Self
    • Nationalism in the West
    • The Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech
    • From Thoughts from Rabindranath Tagore
    • My Pictures
    • Hindus and Muslims
    • The Tenant Farmer
    • Crisis in Civilization

  • 4. Poems

    • The Fountain’s Awakening
    • Enough, Enough!
    • Life
    • Undressed
    • Breasts
    • Kissing
    • The Golden Boat
    • The Two Birds
    • I Won’t Let You Go
    • Unfathomable
    • Voyage without End
    • To Civilization
    • My Little Plot of Land
    • A Hundred Years from Now
    • The Lord of Life
    • Love Queries
    • Krishnakali
    • The Poet
    • The Hero
    • Big and Small
    • Astronomy
    • On the Day Thou Breakst Through This My Name
    • More Life, My Lord
    • Thy Rod of Justice
    • The Day I Depart
    • It Hasn’t Rained in My Heart
    • When Life Dries Up
    • If the Day Ends
    • This Stormy Night
    • A Flight of Geese
    • The Restless One
    • Dawn and Dusk
    • Free!
    • Sunday
    • Hymn to the Tree
    • Woman Empowered
    • Wind Instrument
    • Letter Writing
    • An Ordinary Woman
    • Camellia
    • The Twenty-Fifth of Baisakh
    • I
    • Africa
    • I Saw in the Twilight
    • Romantic
    • The Night Train
    • Waking Up in the Morning I See
    • They Work
    • On the Banks of Roop-Naran
    • The Sun of the First Day
    • Dark Nights of Sorrow
    • On the Way to Creation

  • 5. Songs

    • Devotional Songs
    • Patriotic Songs
    • Love Songs
    • Songs of Nature
    • Miscellaneous Songs

  • 6. Plays

    • Roktokorobi
    • The Kingdom of Cards

  • 7. Stories

    • The Return of Khoka Babu
    • The Legacy
    • Shubha
    • Mahamaya
    • The In-Between Woman
    • Hungry Stone
    • A Broken Nest
    • The Wife’s Letter
    • The Final Word
    • The Tale of a Muslim Woman

  • 8. Novels

    • From Gora
    • From Connections
    • From Farewell Song
    • From Four Chapters

  • 9. Humor

    • Denge the Black Ant’s Observations
    • Aryans and Non-Aryans
    • The Funeral
    • Ordeal
    • Testing the Student
    • The Invention of Shoes
    • From Out of Sync

  • 10. Travel Writing

    • The City of Bombay
    • Crossing the Ocean
    • Travel
    • Stopford Brooke
    • The English Village and the Clergy
    • From Journey to Japan
    • Letter to Pratima Devi
    • From Letters from Russia
    • From In Persia

  • Chronology
  • Notes
  • Glossary
  • Further Reading
  • Acknowledgments
  • Contributors

What People are Saying About This

Amartya Sen

Tagore is one of the greatest literary figures of our time, who commands universal admiration from native readers of Bengali, but the excellence of whose work is difficult to preserve in translation. In rising to this challenge, the editors and translators of The Essential Tagore have done a splendid job of producing a beautiful volume of selections from Tagore's vast body of writings. The book is also powerfully strengthened by an enjoyable and remarkably far-reaching foreword by Amit Chaudhuri.

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