TAGORE, Rabindranath. Glimpses of Bengal. Selected from the Letters of Sir Rabindranath. London, Macmillan and Co., Limited, 1921.
8vo. Publisher's blue cloth, spine and upper board lettered in gilt; in the original dust-wrapper retaining price; edges untrimmed, some unopened; pp. vii, [i], 166, ; a little rubbing to extremities of cloth; slight rubbing and chipping to extremities of dust wrapper, with a small 20mm vertical tear to hinge of upper panel; bookplate to front fly-leaf; light discolouration to edges; a few spots in places to text; a very good copy, in the well-preserved scarce wrapper.
First English edition, rare, of the Chinna-Patra 'published after Tagore received the 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature, Glimpses of Bengal: The Letters of Tagore collects letters from 1885 to 1895, a period designated by the author as "the most productive period of [his] literary life." Bridging the gap between fiction and nonfiction, these letters contain personal reflections on the political situation in India, mediations on nature and poetry, and stunning vignettes of life in the nineteenth century. "The unsheltered sea heaves and heaves and blanches into foam. It sets me thinking of some tied-up monster straining at its bonds, in front of whose gaping jaws we build our homes on the shore and watch it lashing its tail." In this selection of letters, Tagore is at his philosophical, poetic best, reflecting earnestly and with ease on matters public and private. A young man, he writes with the clarity and wisdom of one who has lived many times over, granting readers a glimpse of the iconic figure he would become toward the end of his life and career. His portrait of Bengal is heartfelt and true, unadorned and yet possessing an almost mystical quality. Whether describing his travels upriver by boat or a dream journey through a Calcutta immersed in "a dense, dark mist," Tagore never fails to intrigue, enrapture, and enlighten' (blurb of a 2022 edition).