Dante and the Bengali Renaissance

Brenda Deen Schildgen

in Dante in the Long Nineteenth Century

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199584628
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191739095 | DOI:
Dante and the Bengali Renaissance

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This chapter considers the work of three nineteenth-century Indian writers at various stages of the long Bengali Renaissance: Michael Madhusudan Datta (1824–73), Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941), and Sri Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950). All belong to the long Bengali Renaissance, during which time starkly contrasting views about how Indians might relate to the cultural and political impact of British colonialism emerged. The chapter argues that Dante's appeal to these nineteenth-century Indian writers must be understood in light of the colonial cultural and political situation of the time. Under British domination and in a climate of political and cultural renewal in the nineteenth century, Indian intellectuals and writers were immersed in the western literary traditions as they were represented in the English literary canon (from Homer and Virgil to Shakespeare and Milton), but they also began to become interested in Italian poetry, and specifically in Dante.

Keywords: Dante; British colonialism; Michael Madhusudan Datta; Rabindranath Tagore; Sri Aurobindo Ghose; Indian writers

Chapter.  6401 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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