Cover image for The lover of God
The lover of God
Tagore, Rabindranath, 1861-1941.
Uniform Title:
Bhānusiṃha Ṭhākurer padābalī. English & Bengali
Publication Information:
Port Townsend, Wash. : Copper Canyon Press, [2003]

Physical Description:
ix, 121 pages : illustrations ; 19 cm
General Note:
"Kage-an book."
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PK1723 .B4413 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Tagore's supressed book now available in an English-Bengali edition

For the first time in English, here is the sequence of poems Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) worked on his entire life--the erotic and emotionally powerful dialogue about Lord Krishna and his young lover Radha.

These "song offerings" are the first poems Tagore ever published, though he passed them off as those of an unknown Bengali religious poet. As the first and last poems Tagore wrote and revised, they represent the entrance and exit to one of the most prolific literary lives of our contemporary world.

The translation rights to Tagore's poetry were tightly guarded until 2001, when they entered the public domain, making publication of this book possible. These English versions are the result of a five-year collaboration between Bengali scholar Tony K. Stewart, who provided richly associative literal translations, and the celebrated poet Chase Twichell, who shaped the poems into English. This bilingual Bengali-English edition also includes the "biography" Tagore wrote of the unknown religious poet who supposedly authored these poems.

Rabindranath Tagore was born in Bengal, the youngest son of a religious reformer and scholar. He wrote successfully in all literary genres and is the author of the national anthems for both India and Bangladesh. In his mature years he managed the family estates, which brought him into close touch with common humanity and increased his interest in social reforms. He participated in the Indian nationalist movement, and was a devoted friend of Mahatma Gandhi. Tagore received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913;he was knighted in 1915 by the British Government, but later resigned the honor as a protest against British policies in India.

Author Notes

Rabindranath Tagore was born on May 7, 1861 in Calcutta, India. He attended University College, at London for one year before being called back to India by his father in 1880. During the first 51 years of his life, he achieved some success in the Calcutta area of India with his many stories, songs, and plays. His short stories were published monthly in a friend's magazine and he played the lead role in a few of the public performances of his plays.

While returning to England in 1912, he began translating his latest selections of poems, Gitanjali, into English. It was published in September 1912 in a limited edition by the India Society in London. In 1913, he received the Nobel Prize for literature. He was the first non-westerner to receive the honor. In 1915, he was knighted by King George V, but Tagore renounced his knighthood in 1919 following the Amritsar massacre of 400 Indian demonstrators by British troops.

He primarily worked in Bengali, but after his success with Gitanjali, he translated many of his other works into English. He wrote over one thousand poems; eight volumes of short stories; almost two dozen plays and play-lets; eight novels; and many books and essays on philosophy, religion, education and social topics. He also composed more than two thousand songs, both the music and lyrics. Two of them became the national anthems of India and Bangladesh. He died on August 7, 1941 at the age of 80.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

When these 22 poems began appearing in Calcutta in 1875, they seemed the work of a seventeenth-century Bengali scholar-poet. But they were a hoax at the expense of European-inspired literary archaeologists mining Indian literature for forgotten treasure. Their real author was the 14-year-old son of a prominent Bengali businessman. Moreover, though he was coy about their worth throughout his long career, the 1913 Nobel laureate last revised them mere weeks before his death in 1941. Twichell's free versions, based on Stewart's literal parsings and printed face-to-face with the Bengali text, evoke the spiritual content that kept Tagore's interest: the longing for god that only death fulfills. Directly about the beloved of adolescentrishna during his sojourn as a human, the poems contain two voices, that of the longing girl, Radha, and that of a counselor, seemingly an older woman, who consoles her and chides the god for his absence. An introduction, a postscript, and a translation of Tagore's facetious biography of the ostensible poet invaluably complete a lovely volume. --Ray Olson Copyright 2003 Booklist