Noted as the first Nobel Laureate of Asia, Rabindranath Tagore’s works span across many genres beside poetry. His acquaintance with literature and language started at a very early age. He learnt Bengali, Sanskrit and English apart from math, history, art, science and the Upanishads. His introduction to classic literature began with the plays of Macabeth and poetry of Kalidasa, both of which he partly translated into Bengali.
During these early years Tagore published his poems and translations anonymously becoming a regular contributor to the magazines Balaka and Bharati. One of his first poems include Abilasha(Desire) and his first narrative in verse is titled, Banaphul(The wild flower).Tagore worked with almost all forms of writing. Other than having collections in poetry, he also wrote short stories, novels, musical dramas and dance dramas. To this we can add essays, travel writings and two auto-biographies and songs.
Some of his collections of poems are Manasi (1890) [The Ideal One], Sonar Tari (1894) [The Golden Boat], Gitanjali (1910) [Song Offerings], Gitimalya (1914) [Wreath of Songs], and Balaka (1916) [The Flight of Cranes]. With reference to his poems Manasi (The Ideal One), published in 1890, is said to mark the maturation of his poetic genius. He was influenced by the mysticism of the Upanishads, Bhakti-Sufi mystics Kabir and Ramprasad Sen.
In his essay “Tagore’s Poetic Greatness”, William Radice states, “Tagore always attached great value to craftsmanship.” We can see this in the careful construction of his poems where he skillfully blends metre (six foot/four foot alternating pattern with six stress and four stresses respectively as seen in Maran-Milan when reading in Bengali), rhyme and verse structure with such control that, to us as readers, the experience of the poem’s respective theme is deeply experienced.
His structural ingenuity is crowned by vivid phrasing, moral depth and... [continues]
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