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Dante in the Long Nineteenth CenturyNationality, Identity, and Appropriation$
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Aida Audeh and Nick Havely

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199584628

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584628.001.0001

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Dante and the Bengali Renaissance

Dante and the Bengali Renaissance

Chapter:
(p.323) 16 Dante and the Bengali Renaissance
Source:
Dante in the Long Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Brenda Deen Schildgen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199584628.003.0017

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

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