The Bengal Renaissance: a critique

Samanta, Soumyajit

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Abstract

Nineteenth century Bengal witnessed an intellectual and cultural revival called Renaissance. Western critical and historical thinking, European knowledge (esp. philosophy, history, science and literature), British empiricism, rationalism and education in English language affected an important segment of Bengali Hindu society and under the impact of British rule the Bengali intellectual learned to raise questions about life and beliefs. Renaissance minds included Raja Rammohun Roy, Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and his radical disciples Debendranath Tagore, Akshay Kumar Datta, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay and Swami Vivekananda. The Bengal Renaissance led to the proliferation of modern Bengali literature, fervent and diverse intellectual enquiry and ultimately fostered an engagement with rationalism and nationalism and alternately questioned the foreign subjugation of the country. The aim of this paper will be to illustrate how the Bengal Renaissance can be interpreted as a cultural symbiosis between the East and the West.

Document type: Lecture
Date: 2008
Version: Primary publication
Date Deposited: 26 August 2008
DDC-classification: General history of Asia Far East
Controlled Subjects: Bengalen, Kultur, Geschichte 1800-1920
Uncontrolled Keywords: Bengalen , Renaissance , Kultur , Literatur , Geschichte 1800-1920, Bengal Renaissance , Culture , Literature , Rabindranath Tagore, Michael Madhusudan Dutt , Raja Rammohun Roy
Subject (classification): History and Archaeology
Countries/Regions: India
Additional Information: Vortrag, gehalten auf der 20th ECMSAS, Panel 9: Bengal Studie