Weekend Book sale - 25% + 10% off on all Books

The Bengal Renaissance (Identity and Creativity from Rammohun Roy to Rabindranath Tagore)

Description Read Full Description
About the Book This book addresses the Bengal Renaissance from the perspective of philosophy of science and the psychology of creativity, Dasgupta shows that the Renaissance is characterized by a ‘ collective cognitive identity’ which had its roots in British Orientalism and flowered of creative individuals in nineteenth-Century Bengal. “Professor Subrata Dasgupta has brilliantly illustrated, through the eyes of a cognitive scientist and a psychologist, the essential...
About the Book

This book addresses the Bengal Renaissance from the perspective of philosophy of science and the psychology of creativity, Dasgupta shows that the Renaissance is characterized by a ‘ collective cognitive identity’ which had its roots in British Orientalism and flowered of creative individuals in nineteenth-Century Bengal.

“Professor Subrata Dasgupta has brilliantly illustrated, through the eyes of a cognitive scientist and a psychologist, the essential features of the ‘renaissance minds’ which were witnessed quite in abundance in....19th century Bengal offers a new way to examine this particular epoch...Subrata Dasgupta combines the attributes of a cognitive scientist and a historian to study and interpret minds as well as historical material. Dasgupta also lends to the book a broad, humanistic outlook..... The strength of the book lies in its treatment of the subject, and the lucid manner in which it explains what went into the construction of the ideology of the Bengal Renaissance.”

“This is, by any yardstick, the single—most important account in recent years, and raises the bar for the future. Diligently researched, thoughtful and lucid in its exposition, it is rich with surprises”


About the Author

Subrata Dasgupta is the Computer Science Trust Fund Endowed Eminent Scholar, and Director of the Institute of Cognitive science, at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he is also Professor of History. His books include Jagadis Chandra Bose and the Indian Response to Western Science, and a boyhood memoir, Salaam Stanley Matthews.



Scholars Past and Present have debated at length, and often heatedly, over the very idea of a Bengal Renaissance. The controversies have dwelt almost entirely in the economic, social, and cultural realms: whether there was anything like a renaissance at all, its comparison with the Italian Renaissance, its signification (or otherwise) from social, political, and cultural perspectives.

Thus, for one historian, Sushobhan Sarkar, it designated a time of ‘awakening’ brought about by British rule, the bourgeois economy, and Western Culture. Sarkar compared Bengal’s role in this awakening to that of Italy in the European Renaissance. Later, he was less sure of this analogy with the Italian Renaissance. The Bengal Renaissance, he wrote, fell short of the ‘tremendous sweep and vital energy’ that characterized the Renaissance in Italy.

For David Kopf, ‘renaissance (with a lower case ‘r’) signified a particular kind of socio-cultural process associated with ‘modernization’ or ‘revitalization’ or ‘awakening’—and is , thus, a notion liberated from specific historical periods or cultures: one can apply it to any culture at any pointed out that while the Bengal Renaissance was not like the Italian, it was’ a seed time rich in possibilities. And the comparative literature scholar Rabindra Kumar Dasgupta agreed with David Kopf when he noted that ‘Renaissance’ should not be restricted to a specific movement in a specific part of the world in some specific time; what seemed indisputable to Dasgupta was that the Renaissance ‘phenomenon’ is associated with ‘intense intellectual activity in literature and the arts and this in turn influences religious, social and political thought’. As such there was a ‘Renaissance phenomenon’ in nineteenth-century Bengal—even though, in his view, it was ‘an incomplete and deficient Renaissance.

I will try to show that what historians and literary scholars have uneasily called the ‘Bengal Renaissance’ is characterized by a certain collective cognitive identity. This particular cognitive came into being amidst a small but remarkable community of individuals in Nineteenth-century Bengal as the outcome of their respective, individual acts of creation in a number of realms, in particular, ancient history, theology, literature, science, and practical religion. My main task in this book is to unveil the cognitive nature of the products of these diverse acts of creation, and the products of these individuals acts of creation and the resulting shared cognitive identity were both radically distinctive relative to the Indian past, and of profound consequence to the future; so much so that it behoves us to claim that this collective creativity and the resulting shared cognitive identify over the span of the nineteenth century represent a genuine cognitive revolution.

What is the relevance of cognitive science to a subject matter that has been traditionally in the domains of historians, economists, sociologists, and literary scholars of South Asia? What does cognitive science bring to the table that these other practises have not?

In the context of the kind of creative and intellectual work associated with Bengal Renaissance, the way he perceives nature, humanity, and culture, the way he draws upon his worldview, his knowledge and his memory (including autobiographical memory), the way he responds aesthetically and emotionally to related works of the past and present, the reasoning he employs, the symbols and metaphors he invents and deploys, his drives and needs—these are the very ingredients that constitute the creative mind. These kinds of mental activities also happen to the what philosophers call ‘intentional acts’ (not to be confused with intensions)—thinking, reasoning, remembering, perceiving, imagining, believing, uttering, hoping, desiring, feeling, intending, and so on: acts by means of which a person engages with the world, including other persons, and constructs meaning from such engagement. Broadly stated, cognitive science is the empirical study of the ‘intentional mind’. It is because of this that cognitive science gives us the appropriate conceptual framework in which to situate the creative mind, in particular, to explain the nature of creative mentalities.

The operative term here is ‘Conceptual framework’. My objective is not to dehumanize what is fundamentally a human, cultural, and social phenomenon and place it under the impersonal spotlight of science. One of the charms of Cognitive science is that it deals with the mind at many different levels, ranging from the level of neurons to that of culture. Its practitioners range from neuroscientists through psychologists, and even literary scholars. In understanding the creative minds that brought about the cognitive revolution underpinning the Bengal Renaissance; we will be peering into a cultural, social, and historical phenomenon through a cognitive lens, but a lens that is itself tempered by culture, society, and history. Our ‘Cognitive framework’ in the book is, thus, unequivocally humanistic.




Prologue 1
1. Cognitive Identity and Creative Mentality- in 4
Colonial Bengal  
2. An 'Orientalist' Cognitive Identity- and its 21
3. Inventing a Monotheistic Movement 39
4. Constructing a Cross-Cultural Mentality 72
5. Writing for the People, Composing for a Nation 100
6. Creating a Scientific Consciousness, Refuting a 103
Western Belief  
7. Perceiving the One in the Many 170
8. Composing the Universal Song: Work-in-Progress 201
Epilogue: Architecture of a Cognitive Revolution 235
Bibliography 246
Index 263

Sample Pages

Item Code: NAI259 Author: Subrata Dasgupta Cover: Paperback Edition: 2012 Publisher: Permanent Black ISBN: 9788178242798 Language: English Size: 8.3 inch x 5.3 inch Pages: 286 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 275 gms
Price: $28.50
Best Deal: $22.80
Discounted: $17.10
Shipping Free
Viewed 3986 times since 20th Jul, 2016
Based on your browsing history
Loading... Please wait

Items Related to The Bengal Renaissance (Identity and Creativity from Rammohun Roy to... (Language and Literature | Books)

Awakening (The Story of the Bengal Renaissance)
The Bengal Renaissance: Identity and Creativity from Rammohun Roy to Rabindranath Tagore
Renaissance Reborn (In search of a Historical Paradigm)
Indian Classical Dance: The Renaissance and Beyond
India’s Spiritual Renaissance – The Life and Times of Lord Chaitanya
Bhakti Renaissance (A Rare Book)
Rammohun Roy His Role In Indian Renaissance
The Folk Literature of Bengal
Vedanta in Bengal
Bengal Divided (The Unmaking of a Nation 19051971)
Visible Histories Disappearing Women (Producing Muslim Womanhood in Late Colonial Bengal)
India's Muslims (Islamic Revival in British India Deoband, 1860-1900, The Bengal Muslims 1871-1906, Legacy of a Divided Nation Indian Muslims since Independence)
Bengal Divided: The Unmaking of A Nation (1905-1971)
British Paramountcy and Indian Renaissance: The History and Culture of the Indian People (Set of 2 Parts)
Nice collections. Prompt service.
Kris, USA
Thank-you for the increased discounts this holiday season. I wanted to take a moment to let you know you have a phenomenal collection of books on Indian Philosophy, Tantra and Yoga and commend you and the entire staff at Exotic India for showcasing the best of what our ancient civilization has to offer to the world.
I don't know how Exotic India does it but they are amazing. Whenever I need a book this is the first place I shop. The best part is they are quick with the shipping. As always thank you!!!
Shyam Maharaj
Great selection. Thank you.
William, USA
appreciate being able to get this hard to find book from this great company Exotic India.
Mohan, USA
Both Om bracelets are amazing. Thanks again !!!
Fotis, Greece
Thank you for your wonderful website.
Jan, USA
Awesome collection! Certainly will recommend this site to friends and relatives. Appreciate quick delivery.
Sunil, UAE
Thank you so much, I'm honoured and grateful to receive such a beautiful piece of art of Lakshmi. Please congratulate the artist for his incredible artwork. Looking forward to receiving her on Haida Gwaii, Canada. I live on an island, surrounded by water, and feel Lakshmi's present all around me.
Kiki, Canada
Nice package, same as in Picture very clean written and understandable, I just want to say Thank you Exotic India Jai Hind.
Jeewan, USA