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Other titles in the Lannan Literary Selections series:
The Lover of God (Lannan Literary Selections)by Rabindranath Tagore
Synopses & Reviews
Tagore's supressed book now available in an English-Bengali edition
For the first time in English, here is the sequence of poems Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (18611941) worked on his entire life—the erotic and emotionally powerful dialogue about Lord Krishna and his young lover Radha.
These "song offerings" are the first poems Tagore ever published, though he passed them off as those of an unknown Bengali religious poet. As the first and last poems Tagore wrote and revised, they represent the entrance and exit to one of the most prolific literary lives of our contemporary world.
The translation rights to Tagores poetry were tightly guarded until 2001, when they entered the public domain, making publication of this book possible. These English versions are the result of a five-year collaboration between Bengali scholar Tony K. Stewart, who provided richly associative literal translations, and the celebrated poet Chase Twichell, who shaped the poems into English. This bilingual Bengali-English edition also includes the "biography" Tagore wrote of the unknown religious poet who supposedly authored these poems.
Rabindranath Tagore was born in Bengal, the youngest son of a religious reformer and scholar. He wrote successfully in all literary genres and is the author of the national anthems for both India and Bangladesh. In his mature years he managed the family estates, which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He participated in the Indian nationalist movement, and was a devoted friend of Mahatma Gandhi. Tagore received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913; he was knighted in 1915 by the British Government, but later resigned the honor as a protest against British policies in India.
Finally in English, Tagore's earliest poems--an erotic sequence between Lord Krisha and his young lover.
Poetry. Asian Studies. Translation. For the first time in English, here is the sequence of poems Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) worked on his entire life-the erotic and emotionally powerful dialogue about Lord Krishna and his young lover Radha. These "song offerings" are the first poems Tagore ever published, though he passed them off as those of an unknown Bengali religious poet. As the first and last poems Tagore wrote and revised, they represent the entrance and exit to one of the most prolific literary lives of our contemporary world. These English versions are the result of a five-year collaboration between a Bengali scholar, who provided richly associative literal translations, and the celebrated poet Chase Twichell, who shaped the poems into English.
About the Author
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Indian poet, philosopher, and Nobel laureate, was born in Calcutta, into a wealthy family. He began to write poetry as a child; his first book appeared when he was seventeen years old. After a brief stay in England to study law, he returned to India, where he rapidly became a popular author, writing successfully in all literary genres. He also composed several hundred songs, including the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.
Tagore wrote primarily in Bengali. He was awarded the 1913 Nobel Prize in literature, and in 1915 he was knighted by King George V. Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators (protesting colonial laws) by British troops. Tagoreâ€™s reputation in the West as a mystic has perhaps misled his Western readers to ignore his role as a reformer and critic of colonialism.
Tagoreâ€™s reputation as a writer was established in the United States and in England after the publication of Gitanjali: Song Offerings, in which Tagore tried to find inner calm and explored the themes of divine and human love. The poems appeared in English in 1912 with an introduction by William Butler Yeats.
Much of Tagoreâ€™s ideology come from the teaching of the Upanishads and from his own beliefs that God can be found through personal purity and service to others. He was an early advocate of independence for India and his influence over Gandhi and the founders of modern India was enormous. Between the years 1916 and 1934 he traveled widely, attempting to spread the ideal of uniting East and West.
Tagoreâ€™s written production, still not completely collected, fill twenty-six substantial volumes. Only hours before he died on August 7, in 1941, Tagore dictated his last poem.Chase Twichell received a bachelorâ€™s degree from Trinity College (Hartford) and an MFA from the University of Iowa. Her books of poetry include The Snow Watcher(Ontario Review Press, 1998), The Ghost of Eden(Ontario Review Press, 1995), Perdido(FSG, 1991), The Odds(U. Pittsburgh, 1986), and Northern Spy(U. Pittsburgh, 1981). She has won awards from the Artists Foundation (Boston), the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. From 1976 to 1984 she worked at Pennyroyal Press, and from 1986 to 1988 she co-edited the Alabama Poetry Series, published by University of Alabama Press. She also co-edited The Practice of Poetry: Writing Exercises from Poets Who Teach withRobin Behn (HarperCollins, 1992). She taught in the creative writing program at Princeton University from 1989 to 1998 and in the MFA program at Goddard College. Chase Twichell now teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, is the founder of Ausable Press, and lives in Keene, New York, with her husband, the novelist Russell Banks.Tony K. Stewart is a Bangla language and area specialist whose research and teaching focus on the religious literatures of the 14 — 19th centuries. Trained at The University of Chicago (Ph.D. 1985), his research on the Hindu Vaisnava traditions of Bengal led him to specialize in the Brajabuli literary dialect of Bangla. Funded by Fulbright-Hays, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, he has worked extensively on the transcription and translation of unpublished handwritten Bangla manuscripts housed in Kolkata, India, and Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 1999 Stewart saw the final editing of Edward C. Dimock's translation of a sixteenth century Bangla and Sanskrit hagiography titled Caitanya Caritamrta(Harvard Oriental Series, 1999), a project to which he contributed for more than twenty years. Stewartâ€™s interest in the Bangla Muslim literature of the premodern period has led to numerous articles and a series of translations of Bangla folk tales dedicated to the Hindu-Muslim figure of Satya Pir; that book titled Fabulous Females and Peerless Pirs: Mad Adventure in Old Bengalis slated for release in fall 2003 (Oxford University Press). Currently Stewart is Professor of South Asia religions at North Carolina State University, and Director of the North Carolina Center for South Asia Studies, an educational cooperative of North Carolina universities. An avid cook and collector of contemporary art, Stewart divides his time between Raleigh, Charleston, London, and Dhaka.
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