- Reading level: 18+ years
- Paperback: 208 pages
- Publisher: Penguin (31 March 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0140449884
- ISBN-13: 978-0140449884
- Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 1.3 x 19.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #3,73,687 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Selected Poems (Penguin Classics) Paperback – 31 Mar 2005
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An important book... William RadiceÆs introduction is excellent. (The Sunday Times, London)"
About the Author
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) a Bengali poet, Brahmo Samaj philosopher, visual artist, playwright, novelist, and composer whose works reshaped Bengali literature and music in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A cultural icon of Bengal and India, he became Asia's first Nobel laureate when he won the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature.
William Radice was born in 1951 in London. He is a poet and a scholar and translator of Bengali, and has written or edited nearly thirty books. He has also translated Tagore's short stories and his novel, The Home and the World, for Penguin.
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Top customer reviews
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Tagore's capacity for scepticism, mockery, and hard-headed rationality contributes just as much to his realism as does his awareness of grief and suffering.
William Radice in 'Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Poems' has translated 48 poems, selecting 16 each from the early, middle and late period of the poet's life. Radice is an English poet and translator of many books from Bengali. His is the first of the modern translations that try to render what is in the poems of Rabindranath without glossing over the difficulties. At the back he provides extensive notes to each poem: the original title in Bengali, the volume of Rabindranath's verse from which it is taken, the political background of the times, the poet's state of health, the place it was written, and what events occasioned the poem, and where it was first published. The notes refer to the original Bengali words often, to explicate their significance. It is a very thorough work and I hope it presages many more such efforts to come.
Ketaki Kushari Dyson’s comments on Radice's work (Rabindranath Tagore, Particles, Jottings, Sparks, The Collected Brief Poems) are illuminating and expert. She says “sheer brevity and tautness of construction can be a trap in some of these aphoristic poems.“ She commends Radice's translation of the more romantic poems in the collection with these words: “the translator has achieved a fine balance of ‘faithfulness’ to the source poems, innovative and imaginative ways of resolving problems, and an inspired choice of words and rhythms by means of which the re-created poems explode into little coruscating circles of meaning and evocation in the new language.” High compliments indeed.
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From what little I've read on the subject, it seems Tagore's own translation of his work from Bengali to English were less than successful, hence William Radice trying his hand at it here. The results are mixed.
Radice's introduction and extremely thorough afternotes (which both explicate the poems and discuss why he chose certain phrases, noting any deviations from the strictly faithful translation)are both interesting and helpful. The poetry itself fares slightly less well, though the strength of the images wins through more often than not. But those same marvelous afternotes reveal the sometimes extensive liberties Radice takes, which leaves one wondering just whom one is truly reading. Interesting, but unlikely to inflame those new to Tagore.