Rabindranath Tagore is widely regarded as a romantic poet, speaking of beauty and truth; as a transcendentalist; a believer in the absolute; a propagandist for universal man; and as a national icon. But, as Amit Chaudhuri shows in these remarkable and widely admired essays about the poet and his milieu, his secret concern was really with life, play, and contingency, with the momentary as much as it was with the eternal. It is this strain of unacknowledged modernism, as well as a revolutionary life-affirming vision, that gives his work, Chaudhuri argues, its immense power. Acute, challenging, and path-breaking, Amit Chaudhuri’s collection will become a classic reading of Rabindranath Tagore and the way he is perceived today. On Tagore was awarded the Rabindra Puraskar, the West Bengal government’s highest literary honour, in 2012 in recognition of the ‘significance, in the English language, of its critical analysis of Tagore’s works’.
Amit Chaudhuri is the author of five highly acclaimed novels, of which A Strange and Sublime Address,Afternoon Raag, Freedom Song, and A New World won, between them, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the Betty Trask Prize, the Encore Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, and the Government of India’s Sahitya Akademi Award; his latest novel is The Immortals. He is also a poet, an acclaimed musician, and a highly regarded critic, the author of D. H. Lawrence and ‘Difference’ and Clearing a Space. He has edited the Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor of Contemporary Literature at the University of East Anglia. Amit Chaudhuri lives in Calcutta and Norwich.