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Gitanjali [Paperback]

Rabindranath Tagore
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
Price: 4.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

15 Mar 2004
These inspirational poems, devoid of aggression and angst, are like a breath of fresh air, which enlightens the soul. Gitanjali's canvas encompasses life's experiences with an innocence and simplicity that one does not find elsewhere in literature.

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Gitanjali + Selected Short Stories (Penguin Classics) + Selected Poems (Penguin Classics)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Full Circle Publishing Ltd; New edition edition (15 Mar 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8176211125
  • ISBN-13: 978-8176211123
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

About the Author:

"Rabindranath Tagore (7 May 1861 - 7 August 1941), also known by the sobriquet Gurudev, was a Bengali poet, Brahmo Samaj philosopher, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature. A Pirali Bengali Brahmin from Calcutta, Tagore first wrote poems at the age of eight. At the age of sixteen, he published his first substantial poetry under the pseudonym Bhanushingho ("Sun Lion") and wrote his first short stories and dramas in 1877. His home schooling, life in Shilaidaha, and travels made Tagore a nonconformist and pragmatist. Tagore strongly protested against the British Raj and gave his support to the Indian Independence Movement and Mahatma Gandhi. Tagore's life was tragic-he lost virtually his entire family and was devastated to witness Bengal's decline-but his life's work endured, in the form of his poetry and the institution he founded, Visva-Bharati University. Tagore wrote novels, short stories, songs, dance-dramas, and essays on political and personal topics. Gitanjali (Song Offerings), Gora (Fair-Faced), and Ghare-Baire (The Home and the World) are among his best-known works. His verse, short stories, and novels, which often exhibited rhythmic lyricism, colloquial language, meditative naturalism, and philosophical contemplation, received worldwide acclaim. Tagore was also a cultural reformer and polymath who modernised Bengali art by rejecting strictures binding it to classical Indian forms. Two songs from his rabindrasangeet canon are now the national anthems of Bangladesh and India: the Amar Shonar Bangla and the Jana Gana Mana." (Quote from --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
Rabindranath Tagore offers the discerning reader "manna for the spirit". In truth, this small volume of poetry consists of English translations of Bengali songs of worship. My well worn copy from 1971 (MacMillan and Company, New York) has stood the test of time, being read and reread many times in the past 24 years.
Tagore is my favorite poet, he approaches the deepest most spiritual aspects of life with simplicity, grace, and reverence. Using the imagery of nature, he connects the reader to the truth of living, being, experiencing this world in all its myriad of forms. His poems touch depths within the soul of the reader in unexpected and unimaginable ways ...
Perhaps at the end of the day, the reader can concur with the words of Tagore in poem # 16: "I have had my invitation to life's festival, and my life has been blessed. My eyes have seen and my ears have heard. It was my part to play upon my instrument, and I have done all I could. Now, I ask, has the time come at last when I may go in and see thy face and offer thee my salutations."
Excerpts from Poem # 57 "The butterflies spread their sails on the sea of light. Lilies and jasmines surge up on the crest of the waves of light. The light is shattered into gold on every cloud, my darling, and it scatters gems into profusion. Mirth spreads from leaf to leaf, my darling, and gladness without measure."
Poem # 90 "On the day when death will knock at thy door what wilt thou offer him?"
Erika Borsos (bakonyvilla)
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26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poems about Life 19 May 1999
By A Customer
These are the poems that won Tagore the Nobel Prize for literature. They are poems with simple themes, revolving around our day to day actions, our everyday thoughts, the rainbow of emotions that every human has the capacity to feel. And with all these he connects us to God, and the poems entwine man and God with its simplicity and truth. Gitanjali = (Geet)+(Anjali) - an offering of songs to the Almighty.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cross-cultural understanding 9 Feb 1998
By A Customer
Tagore is a wonderful example of merging of cultures - for example one of the prose poems is the reflections of the Samaritan women at the well after her encounter with Jesus. Yet other poems reveal the eroticism of longing that one associates with Indian bhakti poets such as Mirabai; others seem to long for a God without form as one associates with Kabir. Tagore thus represents the acceptance of some things Western while retaining a distinctively South Asian bent. The poems themselves are excellent and wide ranging - a few are not specifically religious or spiritual. An excellent book to read to enjoy either the Nobel prize winner Tagore or as an introduction to bhakti (devotional) poetry as a whole.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifes philosophy made simple by The Master 21 Nov 1999
By A Customer
The most beautiful thoughts of mans journey through love and life ultimately meeting the maker I hope that you find the same beauty and inspiration for life as I have found in this book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lyrical Metaphysics 24 Jun 2011
By Dr. Bojan Tunguz TOP 500 REVIEWER
I've heard of Rabindranath Tagore and his poetry ever since I the fifth grade when my literature teacher used to quote him on an occasion. At the time I didn't understand much of what those poems were about, but was interested in reading eventually reading them on my own. Over the years I had not though much about it, but in recent years my interest in poetry has been rekindled. When I came across several of his poetry collection on Amazon I decided to take a look at them and see what the hype was all about.

Tagore was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize. Unfortunately, Nobel Prize in literature has had a rather checkered history. Many of its early recipients are largely forgotten today, and many of the recent prizes have been given for political, rather than literary, reasons. I approached Tagore's poems with a grain of salt, but my skepticism proved to be unwarranted. His poetry is of the highest caliber, and his literary reputation is well deserved. He is not read much in the English-speaking world any more, which is a shame. He deserves to be rediscovered and his poetry reintroduced to the new generation of readers.

The poetry of Gitanjali is largely metaphysical, portraying individual's union with the transcendental reality. The themes and the language of Gitanjali, however, are crafted in terms of a series of love poems. In this respect Gitanjali may be compared to the "Song of Songs." It is an exquisitely woven tapestry of innermost thoughts and aspirations, and it takes the reader on a journey of personal actualization and discovery. At times the poems may seem opaque and it's not always easy to discern what Tagore was getting at, but this challenge only serves to accentuate the pleasure of reading. This is a masterful collection that due to its theme will remain relevant and timeless for many years to come.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Gitanjali is one of my favourite works of poetry of all time, and I was glad to finally find a copy to replace an earlier one I'd lost. However, after a few pages I realised this was a poorly proofread version (if it had been proofread at all). There are typos everywhere and they seriously jar with the reading experience, and in some cases the typos change the meanings of the verses entirely. I realise it's a cheapo version that's been printed from an online transcript, but that's still no excuse to omit proofreading. If you're looking for an accurate edition where the poems read as they should, stay away from this one.
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