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Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Way

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"These prose translations from Rabindranath Tagore have stirred my blood as nothing has for years," wrote W.B. Yeats in 1912, a year before Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first Asian writer so honored. Traveling the world for several decades and sharing both his artistic and spiritual gifts with millions, Tagore was praised and admired in his time like no other twentieth-century writer as a spiritual seer and a literary genius. This biography, the product of more than ten years of research and collaboration ...
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Overview

"These prose translations from Rabindranath Tagore have stirred my blood as nothing has for years," wrote W.B. Yeats in 1912, a year before Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, becoming the first Asian writer so honored. Traveling the world for several decades and sharing both his artistic and spiritual gifts with millions, Tagore was praised and admired in his time like no other twentieth-century writer as a spiritual seer and a literary genius. This biography, the product of more than ten years of research and collaboration between the authors, is the first work in many decades to disentangle the profound and perplexing contradictions that made Tagore such a fascinating and pivotal figure. He was one of the very first to perceive that - despite the great geographic and cultural distance between them - East and West would be compelled to meet in the twentieth century. Truly myriad-minded, Tagore expressed the pleasure and pain of this encounter in poetry, songwriting, and painting. "I can now imagine a powerful and gentle Christ, which I never could before," Charles Darwin's granddaughter told a friend after meeting Rabindranath. Focusing more on the man than his art and drawing extensively on newly uncovered material, Rabindranath Tagore brings to life a brilliant artist and his complicated times. Passionate, compelling, and insightful, Tagore's story has the power to move its readers in the very core of their being.

The first full-length biography of Tagore in more than three decades, this moving work uses newly uncovered material to recreate the life of the Nobel laureate, whose profound spiritual legacy grows to this day. A close friend of Gandhi, Nehru and Einstein, Tagore's story has the power and insight to inspire and move its readers. Photos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This moving, essential biography of one of the century's great artists profiles an individualist who brought East and West into receptive emotional and intellectual contact. Bengali poet, novelist, essayist and playwright Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, believed India was uniquely capable of synthesizing Eastern spirituality with Western practicality. Tagore helped to lead India's first modern patriotic movement, in 1905-1907, and the institute for rural reconstruction, which he founded in 1921, anticipated Gandhi's efforts. Demythologizing yet sympathetic, this biography explores Tagore's many contradictions. Internationalist yet elitist, he was an aristocrat by training and temperament and clashed frequently with Gandhi's nationalist movement. Although he condemned child marriage and supported women's rights in his writings, Tagore in his personal life craved women's unswerving devotion, and he married off his two older daughters at the ages of 10 and 14. The authors examine Tagore's protean creativity, including his songs, operas, dance-dramas and paintings; they also interweave wonderful new translations of numerous poems. Dutta is translator of Tagore's Selected Short Stories; Robinson is the author of The Art of Rabindranath Tagore. Photos. (Dec.)
Library Journal
India's greatest modern poet, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) tried throughout his life to bridge the Eastern and Western worlds that were his dual patrimony. Lionized in the West after winning the Nobel Prize in literature in 1913, he was treated as the personification of Eastern wisdom. In this compelling biography, Dutta, a teacher in London, and Robinson, an editor, succeed admirably in delineating the complexity of a creative genius who embodied the ambivalence of modern India toward the British raj. An eloquent advocate of Indian self-rule, Tagore was a loner who eschewed politics and criticized his compatriots as harshly as he did the British. Enriched with numerous brief excerpts from Tagore's writing, this balanced and authoritative biography deserves a broad readership.-Steven I. Levine, Boulder Run Research, Hillsborough, N.C.
Donna Seaman
The great Bengali writer Tagore (18611941) won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913, and was revered in the West and often vilified in India, one of many ironies in his long, complicated, and utterly compelling life. Tagore always promoted the union of Eastern spirituality with Western pragmatism, a union reflected, auspiciously enough, in the seamless collaboration between authors Dutta and Robinson, who manage to cover a tremendous amount of fresh biographical, cultural, and political terrain without losing their narrative thread. A writer of astonishing prolificacy and myriad talents, Tagore combined lyricism and irony, the private and the public in his poems, plays, musical dramas, songs, essays, memoirs, short stories, and letters. Later he even added painting to his diverse oeuvre. Tagore also founded a university and traveled all over the world. He had a contentious yet mutually admiring relationship with Gandhi, inspired the evocative films of Satyajit Ray, and charmed nearly everyone he met. The authors excel not only at chronicling the particulars of Tagore's life, but also at portraying his "mercurial personality." They call him a colossus and a chameleon but declare that he was, above all, a devoted humanist and a radiant artist.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312140304
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/23/1995
  • Pages: 493
  • Product dimensions: 6.51 (w) x 9.69 (h) x 1.70 (d)

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