Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)
Rabindranath Tagore: Poet, novelist, philosopher, educator, componist of India and Bangladesh. He won the Nobel Prize for Literature
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The swedish society started showing interest for literary works of Rabindranath Tagore as early as 1911.
Prince William duke of Sörmland visited Calcutta on route to Cooch-Bihar via Ishwardi (Pabna) in the same year. He vividly documented his experiences in Calcutta and acquaint himself with the Tagore family, in his book Där solen lyser (There the sun shines). It is still unclear if Rabindranath Tagore met the prince at all during his visit. It is interesting to note that

Rabindranath Tagore became Nobel laureate 1913,at that time the Swedish Academy had only chance to read RT's works in english translation and even bangla originals! The famous Stockholm publisher P.A.Norstedt & Söner förlag (now known as Norstedts Förlag AB) initiated publishing RT's books.

Amazing enough the first book which was translated into swedish was The Gardener and the Crescent moon and not Gitanjali. Norstedts six different very successful english to swedish translators were engaged to translate RT's 26 different works only two were translated from French.

Unfortunately bangla to swedish translation was unthinkable at that time. This situation perhaps made Tagore translations in swedish not offering the readers the real Tagore taste in his work.


In 1921 published Norstedt seven of Tagore's books. Following is the chronological list of the translations:

1) Örtagårdsmästaren (The Gardener) translated by Kristian Anderberg 1914.

2) Nymånen (The Crescent moon) translated by Harald Heyman 1914.

3) Gitanjali (Gitanjali) translated by Andrea Butenschön 1915.

4) Postkontoret (The Post Office) translated by Harald Hyman 1916.

5) Konungen av det mörkt rummet (The king of the dark chamber) Kr.I.Anderberg 1917.

6) Farande fåglar (The stray birds) translated by Hugo Hultenberg 1917.
7) Nationalismen (Nationalism) August Carr 1918.
8) De Rovlystna Stenarna (The hungry stones & other stories) translated by Harald Hyman 1918.
9) Mina Minnen (My reminicenses) translated by August Carr 1919.
10) Offret (Sacrifice & the other plays) translated by Hugo Hultenberg 1919.
11) Sadhana (Sadhana: The realization of life) tr by August Carr 1920.
12) Mashi (Mashi & the other stories) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1920.
13) Chitra (Chitra) tr by Kr.I.Anderberg 1921.Please click here to see
           the cover page of the swedish translation and some other information on Chitra.
14) Hemmet och världen (The home & the world) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1921.
15) Skeppsbrottet (The Wreck) tr by August Carr 1921.
16) Kärlekens gåva (Lovers gift &Crossing) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1921.
17) Fruktplockning (Fruit-gathering) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1921.
18) Personlighetens värld (Personality) tr by August Carr 1921.
19) Glimtar från Bengalen (Glimpses of Bengal) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1921.
20) Vårspelet (The Cycle of spring) tr by Harald Heyman 1922.
21) Flyktingen (The Fugitive & other poems) tr by Harald Heyman 1923.
22) Den skapande enheten (The Creative Unity) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1923.
23) Eldflugor (The Fireflies) tr by Prince William (Duke of Sörmland) 1927.Please click here
          to know more about him.
24) Människans religion (The religion of man) tr by Hugo Hultenberg 1932.
25) Min Barndom (My Boyhood Days) tr from english by Ella Myrin-Hillbom 1956 and illustrated by Ulla Sundin.
          Publisher was Berlingska Boktryckeriet, at Lund.
26) Den Landsflyktiga tr by Ella Myrin-Hillbom from french 1961.
27) För fyra röster (Quartet) tr by Ella Myrin-Hillbom from french 1964.


Two books were translated from english, they are, however, related to Rabindranath Tagore. The first one is Shantiniketan (Tagores skola i Bolpur) translated by August Carr 1921 the english version was coauthored by W.W. Pearson and Satish Chandra Roy and the other was Rabindranath Tagore och hans författerskap (Rabindranath Tagore : The man and his poetry author Basanta Koomar Roy 1915) translated by P.G.Norberg 1916.The picture photo of RT from this book was converted by the Swedish postal authority as pale greenish portait to issue postal stamp in 1973. Please click here to see the stamp. 

In 1921 a Stockholm school teacher Niklas Bergius authored a book on RT called TAGORE. Since 1964 interest for Rabindranath Tagore among the swedish readers have declined remarkably. No new translation has been made either by the swedish or by the little bangalee community living in Sweden.It is not unusual to find articles on RT appear in the daily newspapers of Sweden like Dagens Nyheter or Svenska Dagbladet.Several magazines in swedish SYDASIEN and HALVA VÄRLDENS LITTERATUR publish articles on RT quite fairly and quite often.

The best known modern Swedish translater of RT's work is P.O.Henricson. Please click here to taste some of his translations of RT's poems. Sydasien used as late as 1994 its advertisement for procuring new subscriber an art work of RT. 

Please click here to see the advertisement. RT visited Sweden 1921 and 1926. He was greeted by figures like Carl Milles, Sven Hedin, Prins Wilhelm(William) and of course King Gustav V. In the next page you can read about the artcles published in different dailies,weeklies,magazines,TV programme and Radio programme on RT . 

About Sven Hedin and Carl Milles, I translated from different books and compiled the informations as micro-articles. As RT occupies a bigger interest area to me so I will be thankful to you if you can furnish me with more info on RT and correct my info if it is necessary at my E-mail address given below.

[Courtesy: http://www.pabna.net/rtisvenskal.htm]


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