The Essential Tagore

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Essential Tagore
The cover image of the Essential Tagore.jpg
The cover image of the Essential Tagore (Harvard edition).
AuthorRabindranath Tagore
CountryUnited States and India
PublisherHarvard University Press
Publication date
Media typePrint (Hardcover)

The Essential Tagore is the largest collection of Rabindranath Tagore's works available in English. It was published by Harvard University Press in the United States and Visva-Bharati University in India to mark the 150th anniversary of Tagore’s birth.[1] Dr Fakrul Alam and Radha Chakrabarthy edited the anthology. Among the notable contributors who translated Tagore's works for this anthology are Amitav Ghosh, Amit Chaudhuri, Sunetra Gupta, Syed Manzoorul Islam, and Kaiser Haq.[2][3] Martha Nussbaum, a philosopher, writer and critic proposed the book as the 'Book of the Year' in the New Statesman published on November 21, 2011.[4]

The anthology is around eight hundred pages long, divided into ten sections, each devoted to a different facet of Tagore’s achievement.[5] In this anthology, the editors endeavored to represent his extraordinary achievements in ten genres: poetry, songs, autobiographical works, letters, travel writings, prose, novels, short stories, humorous pieces, and plays. Most of the translations were done in modern contemporary English. Besides the new translations, it includes a sampling of works originally composed in English, Tagore's translations of his own works.

Critical reception[edit]

"A hundred years from now
Who could you be
Reading my poems curiously
A hundred years from now!
How can I transit to you who are so far away
A bit of joy I feel this day
At this new spring dawn."
 — A Hundred Years from Now, The Essential Tagore P. 243

Initial reviews for the Essential Tagore were almost all positive. Immediately after the publication, it received positive reviews worldwide. Barry Hill in the Australian welcomed the publication as "a wonderful job" and "almost all gold".[6] Praising the editors and translators, Amartya Sen exclaimed that though the excellence of Tagore's work is difficult to preserve in translation, they did a splendid job of producing a beautiful volume of selections from Tagore's vast body of writings.[7] He also praised Amit Chaudhuri for his enjoyable and remarkably far-reaching foreword. In Times Literary Supplement Seamus Perry wrote that the anthology testifies to Tagore's capability in many diverse modes, and quite distinct aspects of his genius.[8] In the magazine Bookforum, Aravind Adiga opined that the anthology reintroduced a great writer to the world.[9] Amardeep Singh of Open Letters Monthly thought that the Essential Tagore "dwarfes(ed) all previous efforts" that were made to translate Tagore's work into English.[10]

Contents of the book[edit]


  1. ^ "The Essential Tagore - Rabindranath Tagore, Fakrul Alam, Radha Chakravarty | Harvard University Press". Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  2. ^ "The Essential Tagore - Rabindranath Tagore, Fakrul Alam, Radha Chakravarty | Harvard University Press". 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  3. ^ "'Tagore instilled Bengali nationalism'". 2011-05-15. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  4. ^ Martha Nussbaum. "Books of the year 2011: Martha Nussbaum". New Statesman. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  5. ^ Kirsch, Adam. "Rabindranath Tagore and the West". The New Yorker. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  6. ^ Barry Hill. "Blithe spirit of Indian poet Tagore lost to the west". The Australian. Retrieved 2012-03-30.
  7. ^ Amartya Sen. "Poetry and Reason". The New Republic. Retrieved 2012-04-01.
  8. ^ Seamus Perry (2011-09-16). "Rabindranath Tagore revived". TLS. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  9. ^ Aravind Adiga. "out of india -". Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  10. ^ Amardeep Singh (2012-01-02). "On Rabindranath Tagore". Open Letters Monthly. Retrieved 2012-03-29.