Ragini Mohite’s new book addresses W.B. Yeats’s and Rabindranath Tagore’s engagements with identity, nationalism, and the literary and cultural traditions of Ireland and India. It offers a fresh critical perspective on their work from the beginning of the twentieth century, the point at which their international collaborations most significantly influence the cross-border lives of their literature.
This book foregrounds the Yeats-Tagore relationship, significant among their international collaborations, provides a new analysis of the fraught beginning to Tagore’s international fame, and the value of reading his English translations as original texts, as is done by many English-language readers. Of Tagore’s many international acquaintances, Yeats looms largest over his first English-language publications. This brief relationship, in part due to its tensions, is significant when considering literary modernism’s global nature and appeal.
Exploring the thematic parallels and generic innovations in the works of Yeats and Tagore allows readers to recognize the significant moments of tension and divergence in their oeuvres. Reading Yeats and Tagore comparatively offers a timely historical perspective on how the nationalized valences of identity and selfhood might become transnational in contemporary readings.