Young Tagore is a first-of-its-kind psychobiography that deepens our understanding of Rabindranath Tagore, perhaps the greatest multifaceted genius India has produced in the last two hundred years. In this reconstruction of Tagore's childhood and youth, pre-eminent psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar draws a nuanced portrait of the young prodigy and the decisive experiences that shaped him: the death of his mother when he was fourteen, the intimate bond he shared with his sister-in-law Kadambari and his sojourn in England. Through these Kakar uncovers the vital themes in young Rabi's inner world that shaped his creative genius: his yearning for solitude that was tempered by his fear of loneliness; his preoccupation with spiritual concerns that enabled him to give voice to the sensualist within; and his abiding quest to find a balance between traditional Indian values and Western cosmopolitanism.
Kakar's scrutiny is intense as he pieces together this incredible puzzle, but the rigorous scholarship is finely balanced with deep empathy. In laying bare the inner workings of Tagore's brilliance, Kakar reveals the real man behind the towering genius.
About the Author
Sudhir Kakar is a distinguished psychoanalyst and writer. He has written seventeen highly acclaimed books of non-fiction which include, among others, The Inner World (now in its sixteenth printing since its first publication in 1978), Shamans, Mystics and Doctors, Intimate Relations, The Analyst and the Mystic, The Colors of Violence and The Indians: Portrait of a People (with K. Kakar). He has written four novels and his books have been translated into twenty-one languages around the world.
Kakar has taught at leading institutions around the world and has won numerous accolades for his work. Most recently, in February 2012, he was conferred the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, the country's highest civilian honour.
Poet, novelist, playwright, composer of songs, painter, philosopher, educationist, Rabindranath Tagore is widely regarded as an outstanding figure in Indian cultural history and the greatest multi-faceted genius India has produced in the last two hundred years. He is also a central figure in India's creative responses to its encounter with the West, responses that have neither retreated into a sullen traditionalism nor un critically embraced a rootless cosmopolitanism, but have sought to create an idiom that is modern yet at the same time distinctively Indian.
The range of Tagore's creativity is truly astonishing and his oeuvre has been critical to the development of different art forms; besides his literary contributions, Tagore is also widely regarded as the 'father' of modernism in Indian painting, which placed subjectivity at the centre of artistic expression. His significance extends beyond the realm of arts and literature in the sense that he is also an important milestone in the desirable emergence of a modern Indian identity, an Indianness that successfully merges our cultural patrimony with contemporary concerns. As such, he has attracted ample biographical attention, not least in the last couple of years when his 150th birth centenary was celebrated. In Bengali, Prashanta K. Paul's Rabijibani (5 vols) and Prabhat Mukhopadhyay's Rabindra-jibani (4 vols.), in English, Krishna Dutta and Andrew Robinson's Rabindranath Tagore: The Myriad-minded Man, Krishna Kriplani's Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography and the more recent Uma Das Cupta's Rabindranath Tagore: A Biography and Sabyasachi Bhattacharya's Rabindranath Tagore: An Interpretation are a few of the many excellent works which have documented the course of Tagore's life and analysed his work and its place in India's and the world's literary and cultural history.
This slim volume takes a different tack altogether. Focusing on the formative period of Tagore's childhood and youth, it seeks to uncover vital themes in Rabindranath's inner world that had their origins in his early relationships within the family and, together with his spiritual concerns, were later elaborated in the mature artist's sensibility and creative expressions.
In engaging with the life of a 'genius', it is inevitable that one also addresses a question that has fascinated human beings through the centuries: the riddle of extraordinary creativity, which is of a qualitatively different order than the kinds with which we are normally familiar. Whereas ordinary creativity gives us some pleasure and perhaps even an occasional insight, the creative oeuvre of a genius extends the boundaries of his discipline, whether in arts or sciences, and will have a profound influence on its future direction. In attempting to draw a psychological portrait of a creative genius, this book also engages with the biographical perspective on extraordinary creativity.
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