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Critical Lives Rabindranath Tagore

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Item Code: HAS891
Author: Bashabi Fraser
Publisher: Reaktion Books Ltd
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9781789141498
Pages: 245(B/W Illustrations)
Other Details 8.00x5.00 inch
Weight 390 gm
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Book Description

Rabindranath Tagore became the first non-Westerner to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, when he was awarded the prize in November 1913. He was immediately catapulted onto the world stage, much to his and the world's surprise. In a lecture in 2014 on the artistic output of Tagore, Mijarul M. Quay’s said that by conferring the Nobel Prize on Tagore, the Prize was transformed from a European award to an international one. Though there is a general belief that Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize on the basis of Gitanjali (1912, Song Offerings), the poet's own poetic prose translations of 103 songs, with an ecstatic introduction by W. B. Yeats, this study notes that the Nobel Library had several other works by Tagore and had a full account of his illustrious family, his multifaceted talents and his pioneering work in education and rural uplift (which are mentioned in the Nobel citation). In 1913 Tagore was already a household word in his native Bengal for his writing. and was well known for his early association with the Swadeshi movement - a nationalist struggle in the early twentieth century promoting home-grown industries and goods-his public lectures, his educational project at Shantiniketan and as a remarkably talented son of the highly respected Tagore family. With the Nobel Prize, Tagore became a global figure and was recognized as a bilingual writer, as he took to writing several of his essays and lectures in English while continuing his creative output in Bengali. He soon became internationally known as, simply, the Poet. He continued writing and working on his various projects right up to his death in 1941. No other poet has had his songs adopted as national anthems of two countries (India and Bangladesh) and inspired a third one (in Sri Lanka).

Tagore's body of work remains staggering, as he wrote not only poetry, but novels, short fiction, plays, essays, dance dramas, lyrics, lectures, primers, innumerable letters, science pamphlets and sermons. He was a lyricist, a composer, a critic, a translator, an artist, a historian, a philosopher and an environmentalist. He was also an educationist who established a school, an international university, Visva-Bharati at Shantiniketan, a rural reconstruction centre at Sriniketan and cooperatives on his estates, in what is a remarkably comprehensive programme of creative achievement.

In order to understand Tagore's creativity and vast output, he needs to be placed against his familial background. The Tagore family was exceptional not only because of its sociocultural dominance and its economic contribution to Bengal, but because of the multiple talents of its various members through the generations, who provided the rich cultural atmosphere that marked Tagore early years at his family home at Jorasanko, north Calcutta. Jorasanko was a veritable hive of creativity and experiment, where tradition and modernity, Eastern and Western modes of thought, culture and art forms, were cultivated and transfused at the time of the Bengal Renaissance, in which the Tagore family played a leading role.

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