Rabindranath Tagore is a prolific writer, and he tries his hand successfully at almost all the major forms of literature. Born in an educated Bengali family he receives his education primarily at home and close to natural setting. He paces Bengali literature to its highest scale by his versatile genius.
As Edward Thomas paints out, even Victor Hugo couldn’t have claimed a wider range of form and mood than is evinced by Tagore who writes plays of every kind – tragic, symbolic, comic, and farcical, writing them in blank verse, in rhymed couplets, in prose, and who writes short stories too. Besides Tagore writes countless essays, sermons, criticism, articles on politics and education, even on psychology and economics. It must be kept in mind that all his works are written originally in Bengali and are subsequently translated into English some by Tagore himself and the rest by other scholars.
Rabindranath Tagore begins to write poems at an early age. Having composed several books of verse between early years, he publishes Manasi, a collection of poems that marks the maturity of his genius. A number of poems in this volume satirizes his own countrymen whom he describes as the ‘rice eating, milk drinking tribe of Bengalis’. During this time there appears his two lyrical plays – Raja-O-Rani(1889) and Visarjan (1890). Later Sonar Tari or The boat of Gold, Naivedya and Chitra appear. In Sonar Tari (1894) he gives the Jivan Devata or Life God doctrine – a mystic comprehension of God as a creator and as his Friend and guiding angel. His beautiful lyrical drama Chitrangoda (1892) and Malini (1896) mark him a great orator of myth and doctrine of love.
In 1909 Gitanjali appears in Bengali and in 1912 it gets published in English. The Songs offering or Gitanjali is the magnum opus of the author. It is a collection of hundred and odd lyrics. The central theme of these songs is devotion and yearning of the individual soul for the reunion with the infinite, Lord of life....
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