Rabindranath Tagore’s Literary, Multicultural Upbringing

English literature academic Mary McClelland Lago remarked on the literary, multicultural household in which Rabindranath Tagore was raised in her biography, Rabindranath Tagore: Perspectives in Time:

Goethe was read in German and de Maupassant in French, Sakuntala in Sanskrit, and Macbeth in English; poetry was written, upon models supplied by Keats, Shelley, and the Vaishnava lyrics then being compiled and appearing in Bengali periodicals; plays and songs were composed and performed. There were experiments in the writing of Bengali novels that drew on Bengali history as Scott had drawn on the history of England and Scotland; the French short story writers of the nineteenth century were the models for experiments in writing short fiction in Bengali. Journals were edited and secret patriotic societies organized. Friends, associates, and tutors came and went, all against a background of traditional Bengali life; the inner rooms were the women’s world; the boys were invested at the proper age with the sacred thread of the Brahmins, the spiritual life of the household was grounded in the Upanishads.

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