Hermann Hesse in 1946 Image: Nobel Foundation [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Hermann Hesse and Rabindranath Tagore by Martin Kaempchen

Hermann Hesse (1877-1962) never met Rabindranath Tagore, although one would have expected him, more than anybody else, to seek and maintain a contact with the Indian poet. Hesse had been involved with Indian Thought since his childhood. His parents were Protestant Christian missionaries in South India. Read more

Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig and Rabindranath Tagore by Martin Kaempchen

Stefan Zweig (1881-1941), the Austrian writer, and Thomas Mann were introduced to Rabindranath Tagore in the summer of 1921. True to their temperament, their reactions to Tagore were quite opposite to each other. Zweig, the suave cosmopolitan and altruistic humanitarian, had visited India in the winter of 1908/09.  Read more

Rainer Maria Rilke

Rainer Maria Rilke and Rabindranath Tagore by Martin Kaempchen

Even a few months before Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize, Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926) recognized Tagore’s importance which he expressed in a letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé[1]. Rilke had heard another famous writer, the Frenchman André Gide, read out his French translation of Gitanjali which had impressed Rilke considerably. Read more

Rabindranath Tagore (right) with his German publisher Kurt Wolff (left) in 1921. Image credit: Martin Kaempchen/ Visva-Bharati University

Rabindranath and his German publisher Kurt Wolff by Martin Kaempchen

“Being a publisher is not a profession, it’s a passion, an obsession.” This line from a letter written by Kurt Wolff could well have been the motto of his entire life. He was one of the most extraordinary personalities of German publishing in the 20th century. Wolff’s career spanned fifty years of publishing experience and brought together in his person the classical ethos of the 19th century as well as the dynamic, feverish search for new areas of experience characteristic of the 20th century. Read more