Tagore's work had from the very first moment a great impact on fellow poets and literature in general. Amongst the earliest translators are some who became themselves very famous as Nobel laureates, like Gide and Jiménez. Glimmering through the early reception of Tagore's work, via his translators, is an opportunity to gain some insight in the world of cultural elites during the 1920s and 30s.
None of the early translators was able to translate directly from the Bangla original, with only a few exceptions like Helene Meyer-Franck. Also, some fame must already have existed, as for instance the composer Ciurlionis, who died in 1911, is said to have been influenced by Tagore. Song-Offerings was published in 1913.
Not a translator, but nevertheless very important, is William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), who advised Tagore in the publishing of his first bundle, Gitanjali, or Song-Offerings. Yeats wrote the introduction to the first edition. In 1923 he was himself rewarded the Nobel prize.
Translators "first generation"
|Bulgarian||1927: Gitanjali (from Russian)|
|Bulgarian||1918: Gardener (from Italian)|
|von Kohn, Louis||Danish||1914|
|Dutch||1914: King of the Dark Chamber|
1916: Post Office
|van Eeden, Frederik|
|Dutch||1913: Gitanjali (Wijzangen), transl. from English |
also Gardener,Kabir,Crescent Moon,Sadhana,Chitra,Hungry Stones, Home & the World,Fugitive
|Noto Suroto, Raden Mas|
|Dutch, Indonesian||1922: The Parrot's Training|
|du Pasquier, Hélène||French||1920: Fruit-Gathering (La Corbeille de fruits)|
|French||1913: Gitanjali (L'Offrande lyrique)|
Nobel prize 1947
|Kalinensky, H.||French||1920: Gardener (Le Jardinier d' Amour)|
|Mirabaud-Thorens, Henriëtte||French||1925: Mashi|
1926: Le Cycle du Printemps
1929: Le naufrage
1921: En Marge de la Guerre, her memoires of WW I
|Roger-Cornaz,||French||1921: Home and the World (La maison et le monde)|
|Rolland, Madeleine||French||1924: A quatre voix|
she is the sister of writer and philosopher Romain Rolland (1866-1944) Nobel prize 1915
|Sainte-Marie Perrin, Elisabeth||French||La Fugitive|
sister-in-law diplomate-poet Paul Claudel, friend of Milhaud
|Sturge-Moore, Marie||French||1924: The Crescent Moon (La jeune lune), translated in 1913, but Gide long witheld publishing|
wife of Tagore's friend Thomas Sturge-Moore
wife of Heinrich Meyer-Benfrey (1869-1945)
|von Puttkamer, Annemarie||German||Fruchtlese|
|Del Re, Arundel|
|Italian||1914: Gitanjali (Offerta di canti)|
|Italian||1915: Gardener (Il Giardiniere)|
1917: Post Office (L'Ufficio postale)
|Italian||1918: Uccelli migranti|
|Italian||1916: Il Re della camera oscura|
|Italian||191.:The Crescent Moon (Luna crescente)|
1925: Oleandri rossi
|Polish||1914/18: Gitanjali, Crescent Moon, Gardener (in one, transl. from English)|
|Polish||1929: Gardener ("Songs of Love - Pieśni milości) a paraphrased version|
|Portuguese||1914/16: The Crescent Moon, partly Gard. & Gitanjali|
|Bunin, Ivan Alekseyevich|
|Russian||Nobel prize 1933|
|Pasternak, Boris Leonidovich|
Nobel prize 1948
|Camprubí de Jiménez, Zenobia|
|Spanish||in co-operation with her husband;|
publ. 1917: Gard.,Post Office, Stray Birds,Fruit-Gath. 1918: Sannayasi, King & Queen, Malini, Git.,Hungry Stones,Cycle of Spring; 1919: King of Dark Chamber,Sacrifice,Santiniketan,Lover's Gift, Chitra
|Jiménez, Juan Ramón|
|Spanish||in co-operation with his wife;|
1917: Gard.,Post Office, Stray Birds,Fruit-Gath. 1918: Sannayasi, King & Queen, Malini, Git.,Hungry Stones,Cycle of Spring; 1919: King of Dark Chamber,Sacrifice,Santiniketan,Lover's Gift, Chitra
Nobel prize 1956
|Swedish||1914: Gardener (Örtagårdsmästaren)|
|Swedish||1915: Gitanjali (from the Bengali)|
|Swedish||1917: Straybirds (Farande fåglar)|
1921: Fruit-gatherings (Fruktplockning)
Many of the first translators were themselves part of the intellectual circles around Tagore, and knew him personally. Many also corresponded vividly with Tagore, and thus were able to discuss their translations with him personally. As an example, catching such an atmosphere, at right Tagore is sitting in between his friend Romain Rolland and Romain's sister Madeleine Rolland, their father at the most left (1926, picture from Collection Monique Dupont-Sagorin). This advantage did or does not befall later translators.
Amongst the earliest translators were almost none who could understand the value of the original Bengali texts. Though some did find in the power of Tagore's English translations the motivation to start learning Bengali, like Helene Meyer-Franck. She originally translated from the English also was able to translate from the Bengali originals.
Of the later "modern" translators many are able to enjoy Tagore's literary output from its Bengali original writings. No doubt this is also an important advantage. Though the original English translations made by Tagore himself still are of great value. Till this day, these early translations form the bulk of texts set to music.
|de Quadras, María|| |
|Molenaar, Johan|| |
|Dutch||1941: Stray Birds|
|van Bijlert, Victor|
|Dutch||1996: Gitanjali (Toen jij de snaren spande)|
|English||1992: Snatched by the Gods, a libretto based on Tagore, for an opera by Param Vir|
1995: The Post Office
2000: Particles, Jottings, Sparks: The Collected Brief Poems
|Daniélou, Alain|| |
|de Almeida, Guilherme|
1946 Stray Birds
Audio books, "Sprechplatten"
Otto Mellies (1931) is a German actor. He has published several audio books on Tagore, like Am Ufer der Stille (Patmos, 2002), which uses a collection with the same title in Martin Kämchen's translation.