Folk Tradition of Bengal (and Rabindranath Tagore)

by Joydeep Mukherjee | 2018 | 49,317 words | ISBN-10: 8186036989 | ISBN-13: 9788186036983

An English study regarding the Folk Tradition of Bengal and its influence on Rabindranath Tagore—an important Bengali polymath from the 19th century who excelled in philosophy, arts (painting), literature and music. This research tries to initiate the semantic aspect of “folk” through the help of various dictionaries....

Chapter 1.7d - The theory of ‘Anxiety of Influence’

The term ‘Anxiety of Influence’ was popularized in literary criticism along with the publication of Harold Bloom’s famous book bearing the same title published in 1973. A precursor of Bloom’s theory was Walter Jacobson Bates The Burden of the Past and the English Poet (1970) which relates the struggle confronted by poets since the Restoration to overcome the overwhelming fear that the influence of the predecessors could have exhausted the possibilities of writing of one’s original work.

Following in the same line Bloom contents that a letter or ‘belated’ poet is always haunted by the overwhelming influence of his ‘precursor’ or father poet. Consequently, it leads to a kind of oedipal relationship in that the belated poet unconsciously safeguards his sense of autonomy and priority and tries to deviate from his father poet by restoring to the kind of distortion. Paradoxically it is this distortion and deviation that betray that ‘anxiety of influence’. This process is related more to interpretation and Reader Response theory than to textual criticism as such.

At the end it can assessed that soul is excessively an outside entity for Tagore while it is intensively inclusive for Bauls. For Tagore, soul appears through different forms, shades and identities–sometimes father, mother, (guardians), master, supreme power and so on. But for Bauls he is close to their hearts limp with at here in their huts. The research can conclude by saying that if soul is friend for Bauls, he is really a ‘guide` and ‘philosopher’ from the academic perceptive where there is always a command on their students.

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