Dissertation > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Translation

Comparative Study of Gitanjali in Original Bengali Version and English Translation

Author ShaMiLa
Tutor WuDi
School Zhejiang University
Course Comparative Literature and World Literature
Keywords Tagore Bangla original Translation studies Comparative studies
CLC H315.9
Type Master's thesis
Year 2012
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Gitanjali is a collection of poems by the Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore. The original Bengali collection of157poems was published on August14,1910while The English "Gitanjali" or "Song Offerings" is a collection of only103poems. The translations of the poems were made by Tagore himself, first published in November1912by India Society of London. The translations were often radical but could not touch the fathom of Bangla originals. Gitanjali talks about humanism, God, nature, love, life, death and very often show the origins of Bengals. Devotional thought plays a chief role in the verses of Gitanjali. The bond of love between God and man and immense pietism has visualized in many ways in the verses of Gitanjali. Thus this thesis consists of four chapters. The key features of the chapters are as follows-(1) Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1981) is the most eminent Bengali resurgence poet."Bangla’(language of Bengals), plays the component of his concreteness of emotions, thoughts, revelation, interests, feelings and approach, which occupies the largest part of himself. His tireless intellectually and creative genius lead Tagore to make his poetic works in Bangla (Poet’s mother tongue). The lingo of his native soil had touched the bottom of his spirit, which overflowed in the pages of’Gitanjali’(Song Offerings) by his artistic felt tip in a mixture of various dimensions. His many works have been translated into English but those translations in English did not bring the major conception and also the equivalent aroma as he articulated in Bangla. On the other hand, the complete essence is found in the Bengali literary works. He is the solitary gem of the literary world. After Tagore’s arrival in the terra firma of Bengali literature, Bengali society got a new era by his touch. Therefore, the first chapter is an overview of Tagore and his Gitanjali specially traces on Bengali version.(2) It is practically very difficult to determine or trace out the literary translation between the original Bengali and English translation. Tagore chose his mother tongue for his original writings and the translation was also completed by him. Consequently the imitations of his poetry in both languages have not been slipped out from the originality. But when a poem has been translated from one language into another it naturally looses its superiority. A gap always remains between the original and translation. To compare and to find the contrast between the original and the translated version, a logical analysis of the literary text written in two different languages is required to find the similarities and dissimilarities. Although the fundamental thought is same both in Bengali and English but the technique changes a lot. In Bengali version its feelings and sentiments are more natural than translation. The emotional appeal in Bangla is stronger than English translation. Thus the author of the thesis in the second chapter attempts to analyze a dichotomy of "Original versus translation" in the context of the radical, unique, original and transcendental view of the Gitanjali (Song Offerings).(3) Rabindranath Tagore’s poetic talent has been assorted in various dimensions. Gitanjali is Tagore’s perpetual praise of the natural world, a praise that he was able to connect enthusiastically to his love of God. Gitanjali represents the divine love for God and humanism. It is a transcendental view of finite to infinite. The essential unity of God, man, nature and love are stressed frequently in his poem. Gitanjali depicts the idea of three concepts-Love for God, love for human, nature, and love for life and death. These three have become one entity in Gitanjali. The third Chapter is a humble attempt to get a glimpse on Tagore’s attitudes towards love with God and His creation, and love for life and love for death. This chapter will deal how Tagore made an intense bond among these natural objects and brought a distinct spiritual flavor to the verses of Gitanjali.(4) It was Gitanjali, an inimitable bunch of devotional poems, which brought Tagore to limelight. In these poems the poet expresses his rich sustaining experiences of beauty and transcendent mixed with his deepest intimate emotions, realization, and revelation in a series of’Offering songs’. His songs inform a kind of worship offering to his God. These songs have an ardent devotional tone presents a religious consciousness of Tagore. The whole Gitanjali’s poems represented piousness or pietism (Bhakti) over its quality, rhyme and theme. It is the devotional core where the poems are connected with a sublime lyric of holiness. Finally the fourth chapter will focus on how Tagore searches a poetic piety-Bhakti in the verses of Gitanjali.

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