Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Remembering Tagore: Penguin's Tagore Book Shelf

Penguin India

is proud to present the

The Penguin Tagore Bookshelf

Featuring twenty-one wonderful books by and on

the Nobel laureate, poet, writer and philosopher

A prolific writer, Rabindranath Tagore’s works include some sixty collections of verse, nearly a hundred short stories, several novels, plays, dance dramas, essays on religion, society and literature, and over 2500 songs, including the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and was knighted in 1915, an honour he repudiated in 1919 after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. His eminence as India’s greatest modern poet remains unchallenged to this day.

To mark the 150th anniversary of Rabindrananth Tagore (1861-1941), Penguin India is delighted to present a special selection of works by and on the Nobel laureate, poet, writer and philosopher. From novels, poetry, essays and short stories to biographies The Penguin Tagore Bookshelf covers the entire range of works of and on Tagore.

Rabindranath Tagore reinvented the Bengali novel with Farewell Song and this translation by Radha Chakravarty is a must-read for all who love classics; Gora, also translated by Radha Chakravarty, is Tagore’s most ambitious work. An epic saga of India’s nationalist awakening, viewed through the eyes of one young man, an orthodox Hindu, Gora questions the dogmas and presuppositions inherent in nationalist thought like few books have dared to do. As thought-provoking today as it was a hundred years ago when it was written, A Grain of Sand: Chokher Bali, translated by Sreejata Guha, is Tagore’s classic exposition of an extramarital affair that takes place within the confines of a joint family while Home and the World (Ghare Bhaire) is Tagore’s comment on women’s emancipation. In Classic Rabindranath Tagore we present a complete and unabridged collection of Tagore’s most popular novels in translation: A Grain of Sand (Chokher Bali), The Shipwreck (Noukadubi), Gora, Quartet(Chaturanga), Home and the World (Ghare Baire), Nexus (Yogayog), Farewell Song (Shesher Kabita), The Garden (Malancha), Four Chapters (Char Adhyay).

The poems of Rabindranath Tagore are among the most haunting and tender in world literature. Selected Poems includes some of his best poems in a wonderful translation by internationally renowned Tagore scholar and translator William Radice. Also translated by William Radice is Gitanjali, a new translation of Tagore’s most famous work, in which Radice restores the poet’s original structure and style. The Jewel That Is Best: Collected Brief Poems comprises the three volumes ‘Particles’ (Kanjikā), ‘Jottings’ (Lekhan) and ‘Sparks’ (Sphulinga). I Won't Let You Go: Selected Poems is a critically acclaimed collection of Tagore’s poems in which Ketaki Kushari Dyson brilliantly captures the energy and lyricism of the legendary poet’s verses.

Rabindranath Tagore is known to have created the modern short story in India. The Postmaster: Selected Stories consists of his best. Translated and introduced by William Radice, it includes selected letters, detailed biographical notes and a glossary. Also translated by William Radice is Kabuliwallah: Stories (Penguin Evergreens), a collection that recreates vivid images of Bengali life and landscape in lyrical and evocative prose. Tagore wrote He (Shey) to satisfy his nine-year-old granddaughter’s incessant demands for stories. Aparna Chaudhuri captures the spirit and flavour of the original in this first-ever complete translation which includes Tagore’s delightful nonsense verse and illustrations.

Other titles in The Penguin Tagore Bookshelf include Nationalism, based on the lectures delivered by Tagore during the First World War, with an outstanding introduction by Ramachandra Guha. Rabindranath Tagore (Words of Freedom) is a selection from Tagore’s speeches and writings on the nation. and The Nectar of Life: Quotations from the Prose Writingsedited by Sameer Sengupta and translated by Debjani Banerjee, is a collection of pithy quotations from Tagore’s prose writings. My Life in My Words, selected, edited and with an introduction by Uma Dasgupta is quite literally Tagore on Tagore. Meticulously researched and sensitively edited, this unique autobiography provides an incomparable insight into the mind of the genius. Rabindranath Tagore: The Singer and His Song by Reba Som, on the other hand, is a biography of Tagore with music as its leitmotif. It maps out chronologically the musical journey of the poet with anecdotes and allusions and includes translations of some of Tagore’s most evocative songs. Women of the Tagore Household by Chitra Deb (translated by Smita Chowdhry and Sona Roy) is an engaging narrative, spanning over three hundred years, that highlights the Tagore family’s influence on the Bengal Renaissance and brings out the special role the Tagore women played in Bengali history and culture.

We also have three marvelous titles for children as part of this collection. Boyhood Days brings to life an era long past and traces the journey of an icon from childhood to the time he takes his first steps in the world of literature. Translated by Radha Chakravarty, it has an introduction by Amartya Sen. Also translated by Radha Chakravarty, with an introduction by Mahasweta Devi, The Land of Cards: Stories, Poems and Plays for Children, brings together some of Tagore’s best works—poems, short stories and plays—in one volume. The Prince and Other Modern Fables, translated by Sreejata Guha, is a classic collection of insightful little stories that reveal the simple truth about life.

To view the wonderful Penguin Tagore Bookshelf, and to take part in an exciting contest and win some great prizes, or for more information, please visit our Tagore website www.penguinbooksindia.com/tagore.

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