Monday, March 12, 2012

The worm thinks it strange & foolish that man does not eat his books. — Tagore

Rabindranath Tagoreα[›]β[›] (Bengali; 7 May 1861 – 7 August 1941),γ[›]  sobriquet Gurudev,δ[›] was an Indian-Bengali polymath who reshaped his region's literature and music. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse",[2] he became the first non-European Nobel laureate by earning the 1913 Prize in Literature.[3] In translation his poetry was viewed as spiritual and mercurial; his seemingly mesmeric personality, flowing hair, and other-worldly dress earned him a prophet-like reputation in the West. His "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal.[4]
Pirali Brahmin[5][6][7][8] from Calcutta, Tagore wrote poetry as an eight-year-old.[9] At age sixteen, he cheekily released his first substantial poems under the pseudonym Bhānusiṃha ("Sun Lion"), which were seized upon by literary authorities as long-lost classics.[10][11] He graduated to his first short stories and dramas—and the aegis of his birth name—by 1877. As a humanist, universalist internationalist, and strident anti-nationalist he denounced the Raj and advocated independence from Britain. As an exponent of the Bengal Renaissance, he advanced a vast canon that comprised paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs; his legacy endures also in the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University.
Tagore modernised Bengali art by spurning rigid classical forms and resisting linguistic strictures. His novels, stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays spoke to topics political and personal. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are his best-known works, and his verse, short stories, and novels were acclaimed—or panned—for their lyricism, colloquialism, naturalism, and unnatural contemplation. His compositions were chosen by two nations as national anthems: the Republic of India's Jana Gana Manaand Bangladesh's Amar Shonar Bangla.


marcx said...

i wanted to like his stuff, but i couldn't - still, a man of infatigable energy and purpose

Sky Cosby said...

I haven't been able to tackle his books head on, but I do enjoy many of his simple thoughts and one or two line zingers.