No book of poems has ever been able to create such a euphoric response in the West as a series of 103 poems did almost a hundred years ago.
Again, never has any work of translation received such paradoxical feedbacks ranging from exuberant ecstasy to indelible indifference like this one.
The history of Indian English Literature is both indebted to and uncomfortable about the book which talks about a union with the supreme in such a metaphysical language that multiple layers of meaning emerge leading to the multivoicedness of critical response.
Rabindranath Tagore’s Gitanjali Song Offerings is a series of 103 poems translated from the original Bengali by the poet himself.
Tagore selected 53 poems from Gitanjali, 16 from Gitimalya, 16 from Naivedya, 11 from Kheya, 3 from Shishu, 1 from Chaitali, 1 from Kalpana, 1 from Achalayatan and 1 from Utsarga.
This means Gitanjali Song Offerings is the translation of 104 Bengali poems : Gitanjali 95 is a translation of two Bengali poemsÐ 89 and 90 (the last part) of Naivedya.
Moreover, Gitanjali 61 is the translation of ‘Khoka’ (Shishu) where the last two stanzas have not been translated. Again, in Gitanjali 102 only the first part of the Bengali original has been translated.