Rabindranath Tagore is the second most popular literature laureate of all time (after John Steinbeck) according to the official website of the Nobel Prize. Writers ranked below him on the popularity chart include Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Pablo Neruda and Ernest Hemingway. Tagore won the prize in 1913, but a hundred years later readers continue to flock to his work because it possesses all the qualities essential to keep it fresh and relevant despite the passage of time—big ideas, complex themes, stylistic brilliance, a deep engagement with nature, beauty, family, love, and passion, and above all, a profound timelessness.
Keeping the 21st century reader firmly in mind, this volume brings together some of Tagore’s most celebrated works. In The Home and the World, perhaps his most popular novel, intricate issues of devotion—to the motherland and to the family—are explored through a story of two friends and a woman coming into her own. The Monk-King, with its devious priest and marauding armies, is also about the power of sacrifice and loyalty. In ‘The Laboratory’, Tagore’s last short story, he creates a world that is materialistic and amoral with a light yet ruthless touch. In poems like ‘Camilla’ and ‘An Ordinary Girl’ he describes the sadness of unrequited love. His drama, Chandalika, is about the angst and helplessness of being in love with an unattainable ideal.
Brilliantly translated by Arunava Sinha, this selection of Rabindranath Tagore’s fiction, poetry, lyrics and drama is evidence of his position as one of the world’s greatest writers and reinforces the enduring nature of his words, emotions and beliefs.
TAGORE FOR THE 21ST CENTURY READER