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Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-Minded Man [Paperback]

Krishna Dutta , Andrew Robinson

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Book Description

30 Nov 2008
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) - poet, philosopher, painter, novelist, playwright, composer, traveler, political commentator and Asia's first Nobel Laureate - was one of his era's cultural icons: the 'Great Sentinel', said Gandhi. His works reshaped Bengali literature, music and thought and had a profound and lasting impact on the West. He was feted by some of the most prominent and influential artists, writers and political leaders and equally adored by ordinary men and women across the world. Proclaimed as the greatest poet India has ever produced, Tagore left an astonishing legacy undimmed nearly 70 years after his death.But he was also an enigmatic, complex and contradictory figure, torn between India's spiritual values and the spirit of the West. In this definitive biography, Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson explore the man behind the myth, presenting the power of his person, the power of his name and the power of his work, revealing Tagore's personality in all its myriad-mindedness. The result is an enlightening and exquisitely rendered portrayal-not of the legend but, to quote Tagore, of 'the figure that once moved.' 'A fascinating book about a fascinating man, a work that addresses the profound conflict between eastern spirituality and western rationality.' - Ilya Prigogine, Nobel Laureate; 'An excellent book... as an elegantly argued and subtly shaded portrait it will be difficult to supersede.' - Frank McLynn, Literary Review; 'Enjoyable, astute and highly readable.' - Amit Chaudhuri, Spectator; 'This seems to exemplify a sort of biography little dared anymore; an enquiry into the spirit and mind of a man whom the authors trust and admire and do not presume to overinterpret.' - Candia McWilliam, Independent on Sunday; 'Excellent... admirably straightforward, readable, lively, informative.' - J.D.F. Jones, Financial Times; 'Judicious, sympathetic and exceedingly well documented.' - P.N. Furbank, The Times; 'It has been a pleasure to read a well-written, well-researched and well-documented biography.' - Kathleen Raine, The Tablet; 'A painstaking, informative, well-written biography.' - Nicholas Mosley, Daily Telegraph; 'Dutta and Robinson's lively narrative steers clear of facile revealing the subtle nuances of East and West in the poet's sensibility.' - Maria Couto, Guardian; 'An ambitious and altogether brilliant biography... exceptionally fair-minded.' - Sunday (Calcutta); 'Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson have established themselves as the pre-eminent Tagore scholars.' - K. Natwar Singh, Asian Age

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'One has waited a very long time for a biography of Tagore that did justice to a far more complex and curious mind and life than simply respectful and circumspect accounts allowed. Here it is: thorough, fair, balanced, intelligent, and addressing every aspect of a truly astonishing artist, his life and times.' --Anita Desai

'The entire book was a revelation to me… it brings out very clearly that Tagore was intellectually more perceptive than Gandhi.' --Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Nobel Laureate

'a superb biography' --The New Yorker

About the Author

Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson have published extensively on Rabindranath Tagore, including Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore: An Anthology and a translation of Tagore's play The Post Office. Krishna Dutta is an author and translator specialising in the cultural history of Bengal. Her book, Calcutta: A Cultural and Literary History, was published to critical acclaim and she is currently writing about the history of the first book of Indian cookery to be published in Britain. Andrew Robinson is the author of more than fifteen books, including The Art of Rabindranath Tagore and two books published by I.B. Tauris: Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye and Satyajit Ray: A Vision of Cinema (with Nemai Ghosh). He has written three other biographies, of Albert Einstein, Michael Ventris and Thomas Young. Formerly literary editor of The Times Higher Education Supplement, he is now a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge and a fulltime writer.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East/West: Gandhi/Tagore 3 Jan 1998
By A Customer - Published on
Worth seeking out, warranting reprinting, this is a dense, substantial, but readible biography, less concerned with literary criticism than with the psychological dynamics and political realities of Tagore's creative life. Ultimately, it is about East and West, which is to say, about Tagore the globalist who sought integration of east and west, as contrasted with Gandhi, the nationalist. Tagore believed that the human condition was first of all cultural, Gandhi regarded it as first of all political. This is a comprehensive but penetrating study not only of Tagore, but of modern India.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Captivating ... 9 July 1997
By A Customer - Published on
One day I was visiting my friend, and he gave me
this book to read. I always knew Tagore from
my childhood, but this relevation was too
captivating... I still wish I have the book
wherever I see myriad flowers .... A must for
a Tagore Fan.
4.0 out of 5 stars Got Thakur? 18 Aug 2013
By Peter Boffey - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Most comprehensive biographical material on Tagore that I've come across. What i assume are Robinson's as distinct from Dutta's cross references to life & work of S. Ray also resonate as I have thrived upon his biography THE INNER EYE. A few maps and a glossary of the most used Bengali terms would enhance a new edition of this important work which does seem to retain appropriate awe of its main subject without childish idolatry. Also, the perspectives illuminating historical aspects of the intellectual fashions & politics of Big Themes (The East, the East Meets West, The West) --- these provide a clarity on the overarching cultural contexts without trivializing this major albeit currently all but forgotten figure. The essays of the Tagore-Gandi dialectic are thought-provoking, even alongside or after a close reading of the T-G documented exchanges.
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