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Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore

Gitanjali (1910)

by Rabindranath Tagore

Other authors: W. B. Yeats (Introduction)

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It’s a little surprising that this is the work which captivated W.B. Yeats and led to the Nobel Prize in literature for Tagore. Many of the elements that make him great are present – his humility, reverence for the poor, and the feelings of reverie in life – but he is less poetic and more one-dimensional than in other works. This particular edition was not well edited either, containing a few typos. I would recommend “Selected Poems” or his prose work “The Home and the World” over “Gitanjali”.

This was my favorite piece, poem #29 of the 103:

“He whom I enclose with my name is weeping in this dungeon. I am ever busy building this wall all around; and as this wall goes up into the sky day by day I lose sight of my true being in its dark shadow.

I take pride in this great wall, and I plaster it with dust and sand lest a least hole should be left in this name; and for all the care I take I lose sight of my true being.” ( )
1 vote gbill | Oct 11, 2014 |
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments by narrow domestic walls;
Where the words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is lead forward by thee into ever widening thought and action -
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake. ( )
  aeromaxtran | Sep 17, 2014 |
"Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure." Thus begins this small but rich collection of poems by the Nobel Prize-winning poet Rabindranath Tagore. He sings of the ages that are the gift of the gods. He explores the abundance of human experience from birth to death and beyond. Eros has its place as well in the poems that explore the humanity of young and old. All the while the beauty of nature does not escape his attention. The author's own translation into English from the original Bengali does not lose the musical quality that must exist in the original language. One may open to almost any page to experience beautiful poetry like these line from Poem 59:
"The morning light has flooded my eyes---this is thy message to my heart. Thy face is bent from above, thy eyes look down on my eyes, and my heart has touched thy feet."(p 77)
With an introduction by W. B. Yeats from the original 1913 edition this is a great introduction to a protean writer. His poetry and prose compares with Goethe or Dante in its impact on both his home of India and the world. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 3, 2013 |
Three stars not because this was pants, but rather because I was pants at connecting with this collection. I found myself appreciating the sentiments, the composition and the overall sweetness of Tagore's expression. There were a few poems which moved me a great deal and quite unexpectedly, but overall I felt like there was something missing, something that could ultimately connect the reader to the meaning of the poem.

Having said that, there are lines in this collection that are just pretty damn exquisite and I felt like I was reading this little volume in a very different era and very different place. The nature Tagore absolutely worships in these poems is easily conjured up as though you're sitting next to him on the grass and looking up at the sky, or walking down a dusty path in the too hot sun.

Yeah... three stars would be tragic. Four.

I will definitely read this again and I must track down as much Rabindra Sangeet as possible, because from what I've heard, maybe music is what completes these wonderful little poems. ( )
  h_d | Mar 31, 2013 |
There were some really beautiful poems that really got to me - and then there was a large amount that just didn't do anything for me. I suppose the translation full of thy and thous didn't help, which I would normally not really pay attention to, but this is Tagore's own translation.

Still, some were really really beautiful, so it was worth reading. I especially liked "the ocean of forms"and "my dungeon" as well as many sentences from other poems I didn't personally love as a whole. ( )
  Merinde | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Tagore, Rabindranathprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yeats, W. B.Introductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Thou hast made me endless, such is they pleasure.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0684839342, Paperback)

An illuminating collection of inspirational poems by a Nobel Laureate

While traveling through one of the poorest regions in India, W. B. Yeats was amazed to discover the women in the tea fields singing the songs and poems of Rabindranath Tagore. This striking scene led the great Irish poet to appreciate the depth of India's far-reaching tradition of poetry and the fame of this one Indian poet. Tagore's work is without equal and plays an eminent role in twentieth century Indian literature.

The publication of the English edition of Gitanjali in 1911 earned Rabindranath Tagore the Nobel Prize in literature. A collection of over one hundred inspirational poems, Gitanjali covers the breadth of life's experiences, from the quiet pleasure of observing children at play to a man's struggle with his god. These are poems that transcend time and place.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:52 -0400)

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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