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Rabindranath Tagore: An Anthology Paperback – December 15, 1998

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Rabindranath Tagore: An Anthology + Selected Short Stories (Penguin Classics) + Gitanjali
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Though Tagore won the Nobel prize in literature in 1913, he and his work have been largely forgotten. Any publication of his work for an English-speaking audience is welcomed, yet this anthology falls far short of what it could have accomplished. It contains his famous play, The Post Office; selections from a novel; and memoirs, short stories, letters, and essays?a broad spectrum that appears to offer an ample sampling of his work but does not. For instance, his famous poem "Gitanjali" is represented by only four stanzas, and though Tagore was a prolific songwriter, the words of only one song are included. The editors (Rabindranath Tagore, LJ 2/1/96) have also limited the scope of chosen works to Tagore's philosophy of spirituality and religious beliefs. To obtain a passing acquaintance with Tagore, this minor anthology suffices; a more comprehensive work is still needed to do justice to the works of this great writer.?Glenn Masuchika, Chaminade Univ. Lib., Honolulu
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


The entire breadth of [Tagore's] richly hued oeuvre is showcased in all its emotional resonance and artistic greatness. Reading Tagore is not only illuminating but deeply moving. (Donna Seaman)

In common with thousands of his countrymen I owe much to one who by his poetic genius and singular purity of life has raised India in the estimation of the world. (Mahatma Gandhi)

The entire Indian civilization spoke through poetic wisdom of Rabindranath Tagore. (Deepak Chopra)

[Tagore's] lyrics...display in their thought a world I have dreamed of all my life long. (W.B. Yeats)

Tagore, who was a great master of words, seems to me have spoken about language, and its connection with social and political life, with accurate insight, and what he said has great interest for us today. (Isaiah Berlin)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; First Edition edition (December 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031220079X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312200794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #947,304 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nataraj Dasgupta on March 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
As I flipped through the pages of this 400-pg assortment of Tagore's Letters, Essays, Anecdotes and other like items, I could not help comparing the same to Barbara Holland's "Endangered Pleasures". The parallells are quite striking; however, An Anthology is in a completely different league of it's own. It's always a welcoming experience to read about Noble laureates, but Tagore wasn't just another Noble prize recipient - a man whose works had left the indelible etching in the minds of millions of Indians and steered the country to independence, inspired hopeless souls and rekindled the hopes of victory in a god-forsaken land. Striking yet more are the personal letters of Tagore, letters to his nephew Indira Tagore which I must admit were humorous far beyond what we expect out of a man whom we usually associate with sterner and solemn works. The book clearly draws a calm and serene picture of Calcutta back in those days. Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson has produced a magnificent compilation of Tagore's works that appeal directly to the Westerners and Easterners alike. The book begins with a translation of 'Dak Ghar' (The Post office), and recursively descends down the various phases of his life through essays, letters and other small works. I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in learnign more about the man and his most interesting escapades and experiences in life - a truly refreshing journey indeed.
An excerpt - "In certain years in Calcutta, birds strange to the city used to come and build in our banyan tree. They would be off again almost before I had learnt to recognize the dance of their wings, but they brought with them a strange lovely music from their distant jungle homes.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Erika Borsos VINE VOICE on June 2, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
With immense pleasure and great anticipation I read this Anthology. I feel the world is ready for Tagore's poems, short stories, and plays once more. His interest in world peace, his sensitivity for the human condition, and love of humanity is the kind of message the world needs, perhaps *even* more today than when the author first wrote his words. As with most translations of this author's famous work - there is a wonderful and necessary "Introduction" which gives many examples of his life experiences, interests, and achievements, helping one to sense the broad scope of knowledge and range of ideas to which the reader will be exposed.

Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson so wisely selected his play, "The Post Office" as the first chapter. This play is like a pearl found in an oyster shell ... the outside appearance gives no impression of the valuable gem to be found within. The message is breath-taking in its simplicity and sublime due to its universal message which transcends culture and time. The beauty of this Anthology is the wide range and depth of Tagore's writing to which the reader is exposed. His writing is awesome and inspiring, filled with love for mankind, by one who sees the complete picture, but nonetheless is filled with hope. We read Rabindranath Tagore's memoirs in "My Remininscences" - we learn about his relationship with his father, a journey into the Himalayas, and his boyhood days. Tagore's travel writings about Russia, Japan, England, Java, Persia, and a day at the spa in Balatonfured, Hungary are fascinating to read. We have the privilege of reading Tagore's personal letters to his neice, the poet Yeats, the poet Ezra Pound, many of his friends, the philosopher, Bertrand Russell, and many other people with whom he corresponded.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By frumiousb VINE VOICE on April 24, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If the only thing that you read in this book were the short play "The Post Office", then it would still be worth the price. The ending of the play is one of many moments scattered throughout the pages that had an almost physical impact on me as a reader.

It a testimony to the sheer strength of Tagore as a writer that the reader is able to have those moments while reading this anthology. It unfortunately suffered from many of the typical problems of this kind of collection. The selections often felt too shallow and abbreviated. The quality of the translations varied wildly from chapter to chapter.

As a reader, I would have appreciated it if Dutta and Robinson had refrained from excerpting the longer prose works and instead had concentrated on deepening the selection of letters, short stories and essays. Reading an excerpt of a longer work is bound to be a frustrating exercise, and the space was used at the expense of material more natural for this kind of collection.

I picked this up to give me an overview of Tagore as a writer. It served that purpose admirably. Recommended for someone with the same task in mind.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
To review such a Tagore's work is a terrible task, though you've got the pleasure and adventage of going through pure still unknown masterpieces, a feeling that makes you believe that you've entered the Temple of Solomon delivering its secrets. Besides, to complete a biography of such a "myriad-minded" man, I believe that you need both to love the author, or at least his creations. I doubt that, although they have a high knowledge about the great man, Dutta and Robinson (this seems to be William Radice's opinion too) have preserved the bases of his syncretist and pantheist thought, they forgot the message and rather focussed on tiny anechdoctical passages of his tremendous life. I propose you to go through another biographies, such as Krishna Kripalani's or even E.J.Thompson's rather than focussing on such critical pieces of works that would tend to produce a negative effect on your love for Tagore's poetry --which I totally share with you. Take care though to the biased statement of Kripalani, who lacks objectivity being an in-law of Rabindranath and one of his rare truly close friends. However his report is both detailed and representative of the Bengali thought towards its greatest modern artist. I am working out on a thesis reflecting the influences on Tagore, and am ready to share my point of view. And best would be not to spend so much time on your computor but read once more one poems of Gitanjali. Just kidding.
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