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TAGORE, Rabindranath (trans.)

One Hundred Poems of Kabir.

Assisted by Evelyn Underhill.

London: The India Society, 1914 Stock Code: 145664
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First edition in English, from a total edition of 750 copies printed by the Chiswick Press for the India Society. This influential verse by Medieval Indian poet and mystic Kabir (1440-1518), was translated by the first non-European winner of a Nobel Prize for Literature, Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941).

Kabir grew up in the Islamic faith, but later became a disciple of the Hindu ascetic Ramananda. He came to reject aspects of both faiths, scorning mindless recitation of scriptures, meaningless rituals, and hypocrisy. In his poems, he advises seeking the divine within oneself and in all beings, and emphasises devotion and mysticism rather than strict adherence to any creed. His work was an inspiration to Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, and some of his poetry made its way into Sikh scriptures. Kabir's poems were translated into English by poet, playwright, composer, and polymath Rabindranath Tagore. When he was 20, Tagore "had a sudden mystic vision of cosmic unity that was the source of his conviction that the spiritual and the poetic were essentially one. It released his natural poetic flow (in the poem 'Nirjharer svapnabhanga', 'The awakening of the fountain') and gave him what he later defined (in My Reminiscences, 1917) as 'the subject on which all my writings have dwelt - the joy of attaining the Infinite within the finite'" (ODNB). Tagore's famous poetry collection Gitanjali ("Song Offerings") was published in English by the same India Society of London in 1912, in a similarly limited edition.

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Octavo. Original white buckram, titles in gilt to spine and front board, fore and lower edges untrimmed.


Title printed in red and black, opening initials printed in red.


Neat gift inscription to front free endpaper quoting verses from p. 13, and dated November 1941. Spine darkened, light dust-soiling, the binding otherwise sound and square, faint scattered spotting, else internally fresh; a very good copy.


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