History and the Postcolonial: Rabindranath Tagore's Reception in London, 1912-1913

By Michael Collins.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This article examines the immediate historical context within which an image of Tagore – one that persists today – was constructed. It looks at the expectations and prejudices of Tagore’s contacts in London such as William Rothenstein, W. B. Yeats and Ezra Pound; some of the ideas about Tagore articulated in the British press; and the Nobel Prize controversy. In so doing it seeks to clear away some of the historical misunderstandings surrounding Tagore’s visit to London in 1912 and 1913 and the awarding of the Nobel Prize. It argues that this is a starting point for a better appreciation of Tagore as an historical actor, and hence to understanding both his real motivations for visiting to London in 1912 and the grander, more theoretically interesting, nature of Tagore’s anti-colonial project.

Keywords: History, Intellectual history, Colonialism, Britain, India, Culture, Identity, Power, Postcolonialism

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 4, Issue 9, pp.71-84. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.908MB).

Dr Michael Collins

Lecturer, UCL, UK

Michael Collins is Lecturer in 20th Century British History at UCL. He holds a B.Sc. in Government with First Class Honours from the LSE and an M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from King’s College, Cambridge. His Oxford doctorate, which he is currently completing, is entitled ‘Rabindranath Tagore and the West: 1912-1941’. His interests include British political and intellectual history in the nineteenth and twentieth century, with particular reference to the formation of political identities, nationhood and empire.

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