In this collection, comical, whimsical, and at times serious tales of everyday life and childhood fantasy engage and entice young readers and Tagore fans alike. Delightful nonsense poetry, translated from the original Bengali, short stories, and nostalgic childhood recollections evoke a magical world.
The sheer wit and brilliance of Tagore's prose create stories within stories, as is found in 'That Man', which encloses tales of fabulous characters stepping in and out of two separate worlds. Doodies, sketches and paintings by Tagore and his talented colleagues at Shantiniketan complement the text and create an atmosphere of their own.
A treasure trove of funny, colourful writing and evocative illustration, The Oxford India Illustrated Children's Tagore is designed to appeal to those who know and love Tagore's writings as well as to introduce him to young readers who will enjoy the writing and delight in the illustrations.
About the Author:
Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941), Nobel Laureate, is regarded as one of the greatest writers in modern Indian literature, Poet, composer, short-story writer, playwright, essayist, and artist, he began composing poems at the age of eight, and published his first collection of poems at the age of seventeen. His collected works already run into thirty-one volumes. Of these, the equivalent of about two volumes consists of writings for young people. Some of these works were written as textbooks for the school founded by him in 1901, at Shantiniketan.
Excerpts from Review:
The nose complains, 'The ear can't smell a thing:It's good for nothing but to wear a ring,'While the ear says, 'The nose can't hear a voice:But when it sleeps, just listen to its noise!'
-'On Judging Others'
A black-striped tiger, big fat beast,Marked down a man for his evening feast.
The man fled; but it came to passThe tiger found a looking-glassAnd saw his face, and raved and ranted:'How were these stripes upon me planted?'
Mansion houses dashingLike brick-built rhinos crashingStreets and roads jigglingLike long pythons wriggling...
-'The Runaway City'
The poems, short stories and plays for children in this collection have been especially chosen from Selected Writings for Children (the Oxford Tagore Translations series) for their jest and appeal to young readers as well as Tagore fans. The illustrations, some by Tagore himself, others by members of the Shantiniketan community, draw on the ambience of his life and work. Again chosen especially for the volume from a variety of sources to complement each piece, they add verve and atmosphere to the writings.
The first section is a selection of verses, originally written in Bengali for children's textbooks, some delightfully nonsensical and fantastic ruminations of childhood has always been a special place for Tagore whose interest in children's rhymes and tales from Bengal finds an echo in his poems.
The second is a collection of stories containing motifs from fairy-tales reworked into real-life, adult experiences. Some of these have a moral, but are written in a playful manner that satirizes any serious message for the young reader. They are from a book called Galpa-Salpa (Chats), presented through conversations between a grandfather and a granddaughter.
The humourous plays or playlets contained in the next section act out certain Bengali words as in a game of charade. Some plays are hilarious, others poke fun at human foibles and social traits.
'My Childhood' was written purely for children, in the popular, spoken form of Bengali. These are accounts from Tagore's own childhood. As a writer, he was acutely aware of the social evils plaguing Bengal and India, and some of his poems and musings display this.
The last piece in the volume, 'Destruction', openly laments the loss of peace and love, when two nations are in conflict, set during the time of the second world war.
It is our hope that readers will enjoy this collection as well as other titles in the Oxford India Collection, which brings together writings of enduring value.
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