Deep, simple and pensive, the poems of Gitanjali : Song Offerings are those compositions where songs and poetry coalesce into a graceful, continuous form. It is that test where poetry, divesting all of its adornments, becomes songs identical. Looking at this tightly composed form, Rothenstein felt that Gitanjali is that poetry which has paused in a very simple way.
Translations that started in the secluded bank of the Padma, continued throughout his voyage to England, lost and recovered from a railway station, had been waiting for a euphoric ovation from the prime literary circle in the West. And after being published, the poems in translation took the world by storm. They had been looked upon as the only alternative long cherished but not found in words.
This Nobel Prize Centenary Edition of Gitanjali : Song Offerings is fuller, more readable and scrupulously precise. It includes Yeats’ ‘Introduction’, Tagore’s ‘Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech’ (with their Bengali translations) and the Bengali original poems.
This positions the text in the close context of its time and offers a scope to the present readers to examine critically its past and the presentness of that past. Besides, it purveys the leeway needed to understand Tagore’s method of auto-translation.
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.