The Lover of God

Rabindranath Tagore, Tony Stewart, Chase Twichell, trans.

Tagore’s suppressed book is finally available in an English translation.

In 1875 a prominent Calcutta journal published a suite of poems by a “newly discovered” seventeenth-century Bengali poet, Bhanusimha. The poems were celebrated, yet, several years later, critics realized they had been drawn in by an embarrassing deception: the poet did not exist, and, perhaps worse, the true author was a precocious fourteen-year-old boy, Rabindranath Tagore.

These poems, which Tagore continually revised over the next sixty-five years, tell a story of love and longing through the songs of Lord Krishna’s young lover Radha and her confidante Bhanu. They draw from Indian culture, history, and spirituality, and as the first and last poems that the Nobel Prize-winning Tagore wrote, they represent both entrance and exit for one of the most prolific literary lives in modern poetry.

This is The Lover of God’s first appearance in English translation, the result of a long collaboration between Bengali scholar Tony K. Stewart and the celebrated poet Chase Twichell. The poems are presented bilingually and are illuminated by an introduction and postscript, as well as the false biography Tagore wrote for Bhanusimha.

Paperback: $15.00 list price

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ISBN: 9781556591969

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) was born in Bengal, the youngest son of a religious reformer and scholar. He wrote successfully in all literary genres and was the author of the national anthems of both India and Bangladesh. He participated in the Indian nationalist movement and was a devoted friend of Mahatma Gandhi. Tagore received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913; in 1915 he was knighted by the British government, but later resigned the honor as a protest against British policies …

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About the Translator

Tony Stewart is a Bengali language and area specialist trained at the University of Chicago, whose research and teaching focus on the religious literatures of the fourteenth through nineteenth centuries. His research on the Vaishnava Hindu traditions of Bengal led him to specialize in the Brajabuli literary dialect of Bengali. Supported by fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the US Department of Education’s Fulbright-Hays Program, the American Institute of Indian Studies, and the American Institute of Bangladesh Studies, …

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About the Translator

Chase Twichell has published eight books of poetry, most recently Things As It Is and Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New and Selected Poems, which won both the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award from Claremont Graduate University and the Balcones Poetry Prize from Austin Community College. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Artists Foundation, and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. After teaching for many years, she left academia to start Ausable Press, …

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Reviews

“Twichell’s free versions, based on Stewart’s literal parsings and printed face-to-face with the Bengali text, evoke the spiritual content that kept Tagore’s interest: the longing for god that only death fulfills. Directly about the beloved of adolescent Krishna during his sojourn as a human, the poems contain two voices, that of the longing girl, Radha, and that of a counselor, seemingly an older woman, who consoles her and chides the god for his absence. An introduction, a postscript, and a translation of Tagore’s facetious biography of the ostensible poet invaluably complete a lovely volume.”—Booklist

“In this attractive volume, Stewart, a scholar of Bengali religion and literature, teams up with the poet Twichell to translate (or, as Stewart himself admits, re-create) these delightful poems. Wonderful re-creations they are, products of the marriage of Stewart’s mastery of the linguistic and cultural forms and Twichell’s ability to produce ‘faithful, but not literal’ English translations…Highly recommended for all libraries.”—Religious Studies Review