Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141498 Published December 2019 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141788 Published September 2019

Rabindranath Tagore

Bashabi Fraser

Rabindranath Tagore

Bashabi Fraser

Distributed for Reaktion Books

256 pages | 33 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141498 Published December 2019 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141788 Published September 2019
Polymath Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. But Tagore was much more than a writer. Through his poems, novels, short stories, poetic songs, dance-dramas, and paintings, he transformed Bengali literature and Indian art. He was instrumental in bringing Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and he strove to create a less divided society through mutual respect and understanding, following the example of his great contemporary and close friend, Mahatma Gandhi.

In this timely reappraisal of Tagore’s life and work, Bashabi Fraser assesses Tagore’s many activities and shows how he embodies the modern consciousness of India. She examines his upbringing in Bengal, his role in Indian politics, and his interests in international relationships. Taking a holistic perspective, she also addresses some of the misreadings of his extraordinary life and work.
Review Quotes
Daily Star (Bangladesh)
"One needs to acknowledge the significant contribution of the present book under review. As part of a series entitled Critical Lives that presents the work of leading cultural figures of the modern period all over the world, Rabindranath Tagore by Fraser stands as the only non-Westerner in the long list of artists, writers, and philosophers that have been published till date. Written within the framework of twelve chapters, this critical and biographical study reassesses this Renaissance man who embodies the modern consciousness of India, engaged as he was in nation building and contributing to the narrative of a nation. Tagore's life and work are inseparable, so an analytical reappraisal of the familial, sociopolitical, and cultural background provides a prism through which one can understand Tagore as a writer, artist, and pragmatist. "
Times Literary Supplement
“Fraser does well in this short book, taking us swiftly, over the course of twelve chapters, from his family home and background to his ‘modernity’ and ‘legacy.’ There are also rare photographs here, rescued from widely dispersed archival sources. No summary in two-hundred pages can be expected to do justice to the vast, complex and influential oeuvre of this poet who was also a short story writer, dramatist, educationist, artist, songwriter, composer, and many other things. It is important, however, that his name be put into circulation in contemporary times to remind the world of Rabindranath Tagore—yet again.”
Statesman (India)
"Fraser's critical biography of the life and career of the iconic Rabindranath Tagore can by no means be dismissed as just another volume in the catalogue of Tagore studies. Fraser's slim paperback is a commendable example of this skillful biographer's wide scholarship that has enabled her to undertake a rigorous sifting process, a process of judicious selection and rejection, foregrounding and showcasing various milestones and signposts that span the seven decades of Tagore's life as a 'rooted cosmopolitan.' . . . Fraser's [book] combines intellectual incisiveness and sensitivity while meticulously mentioning Tagore's varied literary texts. . . . The biography invites the readers to discover Tagore as text, an extraordinary life-narrative stranger than fiction."
Political and Business Daily (India)
"A unique insight to Tagore’s life, his experiences in India, Europe, China, and Japan, and cites numerous incidents from his life that directly influenced some of his great works. . . . This intuitive and charmingly written biography of a man who transcended all sorts of borders is a must-read. For someone who is interested in knowing the events that shaped Tagore’s literary career, this concise and yet critical book will be of immense help. More than anything else, the present volume is an indispensable and resourceful guide to know all that 'Viswakabi' Rabindranath Tagore stood for."
Fakrul Alam, East West University, Dhaka, and coeditor of "The Essential Tagore"
"Comprehensive in its coverage of the multifaceted genius of Rabindranath Tagore, insightful and clearly written, this is a succinct critical biography of a man who transcended all sorts of borders and traversed continents in his lifetime. Fraser presents Tagore’s life and works with sympathy and care, tracing the different strands that came together in him, and giving us ample reasons to value his contribution to the world he lived in."
Amit Chaudhuri, author of "The Immortals," "Freedom Song," and "Calcutta"
"An excellent and informative introduction to Tagore and his context."
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